Three Homesick Grey-Shanked Douc Langurs
On 30th of December, three homesick grey-shanked douc langurs escaped from the semi-wild area at EPRC and managed to find their way back to the cage which was once their home.
In the middle of a meeting, we got a call from one of our keepers reporting about an incident where our langurs escaped. We rushed to the spot with just sweet potato, a whistle and a cage. What we saw was three grey-shanked douc langurs out of four that had been living in the semi-wild area hanging around on top of an enclosure and on the tree branches. Our tactic was to try and lure them into the cage using food and whistling.
Every single of our semi-wild area dwelling animals have been trained to recognize the high-pitch sound of the whistle before they got released. With this method, they would link the sound with feeding time. Thanks to this trained behaviour, we can use the whistle to summon our animals in the semi-wild area almost every time we want to check on their health, catch them back and so on.
However, things didn’t go too well this time with food and whistle. Got distracted and intimidated by other primates in the surrounding cage, three mischievous grey-shanked douc langurs ignore most of us and paid little attention to the tempting sweet potato in our hands.
We have a mobile cage that we call “animal taxi”. The picture above was from the time that we had to move Hatinh langurs.
It took us three exhausting and sweaty days and a lot of mind games to successfully capture these boys with the help of sweet potatoes. The bamboo tree that fell over our electric fence which accidentally became a bridge for these boys have been cut down and eventually they were released back to the semi-wild area.
Although as homesick as they might be, we have to be tough and train them to be independent and adaptive in the semi-wild before they can enjoy the complete wilderness someday.