Victor the kinkajou: rescued from poachers
Another BWRC patient turned species ambassador thanks to the Best little Zoo - TBZ (The Belize Zoo). Wildlife does not make good pets and unfortunately BWRC can't release them all. Wildlife rehabilitation of orphans is a lengthy and complex step by step procedure. The goal is to resemble nature while raising the orphan and to teach the animal who it is and the skills it needs to survive. Many factors play into the success of the process.
Victor the kinkajou had been brought to BWRC by Forest Department Wildlife officer Victoria Chi last year. He was only 5 days old when he was confiscated from poachers by the wildlife officer and he had no siblings to grow up with. Victor developed a typical behaviour of very young orphans - thumb sucking. BWRC tried to deter this behaviour for a long time and hoped that enrichment, upgrading into the pre-release cage and ultimately release would keep him "busy" enough to get over the baby behaviour - but he proved us wrong.
At first he seemed to go through the process, showed no further interest in humans and thrived post release. For 2 weeks he was only seen on camera and in good condition. Nearly 4 weeks after release he returned and showed clear signs of stress, weight loss, continued thumb sucking and complete fixation on his previous human carers. Faced with an unreleasable animal BWRC - as an organisation whose focus is to return animals to the wild - immediately contacted The Belize Zoo to see if they could give a home to this patient... And fortunately they had just completed a wonderful new habitat for kinkajous and the timing was perfect!
So today Victor transferred to his new home thanks to TBZ and hopefully he will help to educate more people about the sad plight of pet wildlife in the illegal trade.
Photograph by Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic
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