Phew, my trepan-like headache is subsiding. JUST in time for the weekend, which is good, because I need to put in some serious ocean time. I may even get out the cooler.
Back to Sid, the sweet lemur...
What I figured I'd do was keep tabs on Sid for the next three-ish weeks, after which time I would be leaving. When the car arrived to take me back to the city, I would also pick up the female lemur living in Behelok, and drive them 1/2 way across the country to a rescue facility. There aren't many, but there are a couple of good places where confiscated or abandoned captive lemurs can go (e.g. www.savethelemur.org, www.lemurspark.com).
But that didn't work out. Poor Sid was miserable. All the things that drove me nuts at the park, also drove him nuts. The heat, the flies, the mosquitoes. Plus, he was infested with and tormented by fleas. And, the rope around his waist was a constant annoyance.
The next day was hell. Sid was really really unhappy. If a lemur could be hysterical, he was. I just wanted to keep him either in view or tied nearby. But he wanted to run. He would run to the end of his short rope and nearly yank his legs off, about every 10 seconds. He just could not understand the leash and got himself all worked up. I tried going wherever he wanted and then sitting there with him, but he wasn't happy anywhere. I even pulled out the little tent he slept in and tried to get him to calm down in there, but he wasn't having any of it. None of my animal chill-out tactics worked.
That morning, I wrote the following:
March 21, 2011. 8:38am. Camp.
Poor Sid. He knows he is a lemur but doesn't know how to act like one. An adult male came through camp as we were on our way out of the tent. Sid figures that this male would be his new BF, but the male was of course having no part of that. The male was doing square head and stinking and Sid was just trying to go right up to him. The male was totally spooked by this odd behavior, called to Ilove, and then ran up the hill, as did Sid. As did I. Again, I had to catch Sid in my lamba. He is now tied up and miserable about it. Its really sad. He wants to just go out into the forest with the other lemurs but he has no idea how to behave, feed himself, or stay clear of predators.
It was incredibly stressful to have this poor little miserable beast. The only thing I've experienced like this was one time when Ron and I babysat our nephew, Cooper. He was only a few months old and screamed for like 3 hours straight. We had no idea what to do, but did try everything we could think of. We thought we broke him and considered calling 911. For shiz. He really was hysterical and I nearly had a heart attack. That was 11 years ago and I am still traumatized.
The day progressed and we all (Sid, Meghan and I) grew increasingly frazzled. I tried feeding Sid 'lemur foods' and he did eat some, but had no idea that leaves were food. I also fed him whole garlic cloves, as garlic is supposed to deter fleas. A little before dark, I was at my wits end. So, I mixed up a little rum cocktail and fed it to Sid. I am not proud of this. And for the record, I did not feed my nephew booze 11 years ago.
I don't think the wee bit of rum affected Sid much (apparently he drank beer at home), but the dark did. Dark was his cue to hunker right down. And since he refused to go into the little tent inside my tent, I let him crawl into bed with me. He was such a love bug. Purring and perfectly happy snuggling with me. I woke up a number of times to the smell of his garlic breath. He was attempting to groom my face with his tooth comb and getting me all garlic-spit-y in the process. OMG, what a sweet little lemur.
Bright and early the next day, Sid was rearing to go. I was just trying to change out of my pjs and get some shoes on, but he couldn't wait, and was trying to jump through the tent. OK OK, I said to him, and unzipped the door while tying my boots. Sid saw that as his chance and ran. Straight into the forest. And I never saw him again.
I looked for days. Realistically, since it was 50 degrees Celsius that day, he likely died within 24 hours of dehydration. And it breaks my heart every single time I think of it. Even if he found water, he still had that stupid rope around his waist and I kept picturing him stuck half way up a tree. Even if he found water and didn't get stuck, he didn't know how to find food or stay away from predators. He had no chance.
He likely died a rather unpleasant, lonely death and it is my fault. Of course I didn't mean for this to happen, but that poor little boy was gone on my clock. It just makes me sick to think about. I cried a lot over the following days and was terrified of finding his little corpse, but I never did.
Ok, I can’t take thinking about this anymore today. Tomorrow I will talk a bit about the political crap that ensued. Sniff, sniff.