Pippi arrived at SIBU Wildlife Sanctuary in December 2018 when she was around 7 months old, displaying a lot of difficulty using her back legs and with her balance. Although she was strong, her back legs would buckle when walking and she lacked motor control in her arms, resulting in a waving movement when she was trying to eat. It is impossible to know exactly what happened to her, but it is believed that she had fallen from a tree. Our vet diagnosed a spinal injury and possible injury to the back of her head, specifically the areas of the brain that control vision and coordination.
Even though her impaired movement restricts her from climbing on the branches as freely as the other monkeys, Pippi is eager to see the world. We have constructed many levels of bridges throughout her large habitat to ensure she can move around safely, and she loves walking across these!
She receives physical therapy twice a day, and is introduced to new environments to encourage her to explore and feel the sun on her face. Here she is pictured being taken on one of her daily walks to see brightly colored flowers. Bright colors are a key tool in childhood development, but are also known to illicit emotion. Because howler monkeys have the ability to see colors these walks are a vital stimulation for Pippi. She will display different emotional responses depending on what colors she sees, and is particularly drawn to yellow flowers.
These activities have not only strenghtened her muscles but have also given her more confidence and happiness.
- Leaves and lettuce