Hand rearing and rehabilitation of wild animals is, at times, necessary to ensure their survival. To do this requires a detailed knowledge of their dietary and habitat requirements, as well as an understanding and ability to adapt those requirements to a captive condition. Ultimately, the goal of hand-rearing and rehabilitation is to allow the animal to return back to its natural habitat, and successfully breed in the wild.
At Khulula Wild Care, staff and volunteers are currently hand-rearing a Thick Tailed Bushbaby, Otolemur crassicaudatus. Bushbabies are nocturnal primates, with child-like cries – which gave cause for their name. The Thick-Tailed Bushbaby is the most social of all known bushbaby species, probably due to its diet and larger body size.
The husbandry of the Bushbaby and other species, requires volunteers to learn about it’s natural habitat to reflect this as much as possible to be successful in releasing the animal back into the wild. Yasmin Hodgson, pictured with the Bushbaby, and the team at Khulula ensure that the following elements are taken into consideration…
At dusk, groups disperse to feed alone while foraging for insects, but will congregate with members of other groups at well-established gum licks and in fruiting trees.
The oestrus cycle lasts between three to five days, during which the female has access to several mating partners. After a gestation period of 132 days, three to four young are born at the onset of the first rains.
The male Thick-Tailed Bushbabies regularly form sleeping groups with females and their young.
The Thick-Tailed Bushbaby occupies open woodland or savannah habitats in the north-eastern parts of South Africa, but only riverine and coastal forests provide suitable habitat further southwards and westwards.