In early November 2014, Vincent’s mother was electrocuted on an uninsulated transformer here in Guiones and unfortunately when she died, she slumped onto the live electrical current and Vincent was pinned against the transformer. A second female was also dead. Howler monkeys are very emotional animals and when one member of the troop is crying out in pain, the rest of the family will come to the rescue, but unfortunately they are almost always electrocuted as well. Thankfully, the owner of the house across from the transformer called Refuge for Wildlife and we were able to rescue little Vincent in time.
We arrived at the scene and used specially designed fibre glass poles to turn off the electricity and knock down the monkeys stuck on the transformer. At only a few weeks old, Vincent had survived, but was gravely injured. He was quickly handed to Brenda who held him close to comfort him from the loss of his family – the warmth of her skin and her heartbeat calmed Vincent.
At the Refuge for Wildlife clinic, we examined Vincent and discovered the extent to his injuries. He had severe 3rd degree burns to his hands and face and was so badly electrocuted, that his left eye was burned shut and most of his left earlobe was burned off. He had a huge indentation on his forehead where the flesh was burned down to the bone. It was a hopeless case. Vincent was only a few weeks old and surely wouldn’t survive such horrific injuries.
Vincent cried a lot the first few days the the Refuge because he missed his mother and had trouble seeing and breathing because of the inflamed burned flesh on his face. He was given plenty of pain medication, antibiotics, soothing burn cream and was given all the care and love needed. Vincent was a fighter.
Within a few weeks, Vincent’s burns had started to heal, the and slowly the gapping hole on his forehead started to scab over and close up. Although his left ear is deformed, Vincent doesn’t seem to have any problem with hearing and communicating with the other babies in the nursery. Vincent developed an ulcer in his left eye and has been receiving treatment.
It’s now more than a year since Vincent’s accident and his is thriving. He has grown up a lot and is looking more and more handsome every day. He is becoming more independent and shows no signs of his disabilities slowing him down. He’s got an amazing little personality and loves to play, climb and wrestle with the other orphaned babies. He does often get ear infections because the ear that was burned off cannot drain properly, but we are hoping to find a way to resolve this issue. He may need surgery. Soon he will be moving out of the nursery and into the outside enclosure with his siblings that are around the same age. We are hoping that in another year or so with us at Refuge for Wildlife, Vincent will be ready to start a step-down release program and start his journey back into the jungle where he belongs.