Udi is a baby spider monkey. He was pulled from his mother’s arms when he was just two weeks old and brought to New York City to be sold as a pet. Udi was bought on a whim by a man who knew nothing about the needs or care of a baby monkey. He just thought it would be “neat” to have a monkey.
A month later, Udi was found in the man’s basement: alone, cold, and with no food. Imagine a month-old baby in this situation. Udi was rescued by a friend, and eventually the little monkey landed in my care. That was almost a year ago, when Udi was two months old. He weighed just two pounds and was completely helpless.
I didn’t know anything about monkeys, either. I had no idea that having a monkey is not like caring for a pet, it’s like raising a baby! But since Udi entered my life, I have fallen completely in love and I have learned a lot about monkeys.
Most importantly, I learned that I can never provide what Udi really needs to thrive and be happy. Monkeys are social; they NEED to live with their own species, outdoors, not in a NYC apartment with people! They need natural sunlight and space to climb and swing. Monkeys will NEVER be domesticated. THEY ARE WILD ANIMALS!
Because I love Udi so much, I knew I had to find a better place for him-and I found it! JUNGLE FRIENDS. Jungle Friends currently cares for 50 monkeys, with more on the waiting list. They do not breed them, re-sell them, exhibit them or do research on them – they just care for them.
Udi’s Road to Recovery
May 24th, 2004: Udi was examined at the University of Florida’s Veterinary School to learn why he was so tiny and could not walk. His radiographs showed that he has severe metabolic bone disease; all of his bones are soft. His legs are bowed and his wrist and elbow joints are enlarged and seem painful. Udi weighed only 4 pounds, about 1/2 his normal weight.
We learned that Udi's stunted growth and bone disease are from a deficiency of calcium and vitamin D, due to malnourishment and lack of sunlight. A radiograph also showed an abnormality in Udi’s lungs. Dr. Heard suspected that Udi also suffered from pneumonia.
We hope that with the right diet, exercise and plenty of sunshine, Udi will recover fully.
July 16th, 2004: Udi had his follow up visit with the doctor today. Great news! Udi’s lungs sound good, so it seems the pneumonia has cleared. His weight is at 5.5 pounds! It is very exciting to see the numbers going up on the scale! Udi has gained about 2 pounds since his arrival in mid-May.
Dr. Heard is also happy with how Udi’s overbite is mending. Udi may always have an overbite which could lead to dental problems when he gets older, but it could also work its way out. His teeth are better aligned now.
Udi still has enlarged elbow and wrist joints. They may never mend fully but they do not seem to be as painful.
The vet also noticed that Udi is much stronger now. Dr. Heard commented on how much stronger Udi’s tail is.
Though Udi needs to grow stronger before he can be socialized, we are heartened to see how much his health has improved in so little time.