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The BWRC Story of Saving Mia #459639
03/07/13 09:00 AM
03/07/13 09:00 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 71,964
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Great story about the Howler Monkey that was hit by a car, and saved by the Belize Wildlife Referral Clinic a month ago. It chronicles the story from the day of the accident to this week. Dr. Isabelle and her team at the BWRC saved Mia, and she's been rehabilitating at Wildtracks ever since. She'll be released into the wild later this year.

Valerie veered right to avoid hitting her; but it was too late. Her small head hit the left front side of the vehicle with a disconcerting thud. Pulling quickly onto the right shoulder of the road, Valerie and her traveling companion, Karina, alighted and rushed over to their victim.

Mia lay in a fetal position in the middle of the road; blinking but otherwise lifeless and making no sound. A Heineken delivery van pulled up and two guys hopped out of the van.

"Did it fall outta the tree?" one of the guys asked.

"No, it didn't fall out of the tree, I hit it," the unnerved Valerie responded . "I hope it's not dying."

"Dat nuh dead, man, dat nuh dead; dehn ting cud tek lik," the Heineken guy said reassuringly.

They agreed it would be best to create a makeshift diversion in the road so vehicles wouldn't run over Mia while they tried to get some help. Suddenly, branches in a nearby tree rustled. Looking up, they were startled by five pairs of eyes steadfastly, noiselessly observing their movements down below.

"One of them is coming down," Val nervously whispered as she backed away slightly from the middle of the road. A tiny toddler then crossed from the right hand side of the road and took the hand of the adult who had climbed down the tree, extending its hand to the toddler. Together, they gracefully scaled the tree and, from their lofty, leafy perch, continued to solemnly observe the clothed apes beneath them who had heaped up a few branches around the victim, forcing traffic to go around Mia's body. Mia suddenly coughed, stood up, made a few ungainly steps before collapsing onto the road. "She's alive," Valerie exclaimed with relief. They gently prodded and nudged her onto the left shoulder of the road.

When they called the zoo, they were told that the Forestry Department needed to give permission before the zoo could assist. The forestry officer, in turn, told them to put the injured victim in the vehicle and head up towards Belmopan City; he would meet them at some point on the highway and take over. The officer reassured them that, given Mia's obvious injuries and incapacitation, it was very unlikely that she would show any aggression towards them in the vehicle.

They called the chef they knew at the nearby Olde River Tavern to ask for help, after explaining what had happened.

"Oh, that happens all the time; they get hit all the time, but usually people don't stop and render assistance," was the chef's reaction.

The Heineken guys and the chef's husband used a towel to hoist Mia into the back of the vehicle and secured her inside. Overhead, six pair of eyes remained fixed on them. The last thing Valerie heard as the engine kicked over and she slowly drove off was the encouraging farewell: "Nuh worry, it will be okay, dehn ting cud tek lik."

They drove slowly. Going over speed bumps, their injured passenger moaned and moved about. Glancing in her rear view mirror near Hattieville, Valerie could see the slender arm of her passenger raised against the back glass.

At mile 30 on the George Price Highway, she decided to call the Forestry Department again. Rasheeda said they should have met up with the forestry officer by now but since that hadn't happened, they should proceed to Belmopan.

Around mile 40, poor Mia, obviously traumatized and in shock, defecated creating a dreadful stink in the vehicle; they lowered the windows to let in some fresh air.

Mia in intensive care
At the Forestry Department, Rasheeda opened the back of the vehicle and, looking at Mia, seemed relieved that she was an adult. She then pulled out a notebook and took a statement from Valerie, noting the exact place where the accident occurred, the time of day and how long the victim lay on the ground before moving.

Mia was later taken to the Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic where the medical team discovered that she had suffered severe head trauma in the accident. Dr. Isabelle and her team administered stabilization treatment, fluid therapy and intensive care for several days.

Mia flown to Wildtracks
On February 6th, she was placed on board a Lighhawk flight en route to Wildtracks, a manatee and primate rehabilitation center in the village of Sarteneja, run by Paul Walker, a zoologist, and his wife, Zoe, to undergo careful rehabilitation. Several weeks later, Valerie called Paul to check on Mia's progress.

"Mia's doing quite well, very gradually regaining better coordination and more confidence in her movements," Paul responded. "Use of her tail is still suffering from slow responsiveness, but I'm confident she will recover fully. She's eating and behaving well, and is almost ready for us to start introducing her to the troop of monkeys with whom we're aiming to release her in late May or June."

Valerie at Wildtracks
On March 2nd, Valerie visited Mia at Wildtracks. Mia hadn't recovered fully enough from the head trauma to be returned to her troop in time for re-integration.She would instead be integrated with one of the two troops scheduled for release in Sarteneja in May or June. Wildtracks would implement a dawn-to-dusk post-release monitoring for the first 90 plus days, then scale back gradually once they were satisfied that the monkeys were thriving - but continue check-ups indefinitely.

One of the challenges in Mia's rehabilitation was to prevent depression setting in, especially having lost her youngster. Her rehabilitation included introducing one of the youngsters to her for some playtime, to let her resume interactions with other monkeys again. Paul and Zoe explained to Valerie that, given the size of Mia's toddler, she would probably be able to manage just fine under the care of an aunt; and, if she hadn't stopped and rendered aid, Mia certainly would have died.

Mia convalescing at Wildtracks


Re: The BWRC Story of Saving Mia [Re: Marty] #459658
03/07/13 01:11 PM
03/07/13 01:11 PM
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 1,464
San Pedro, Belize
Judyann H. Offline
Judyann H.  Offline
Wonderful, heartwarming story....Thank you for a great addition to my day!

My friends call me Judyann

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