Caregiving and resocialization
The animals that arrive at AAP have often been neglected, not only with respect to their physical care but also in their social environment. At AAP, they receive the professional care that they need, so that they can once again be an ‘animal.’ This care can be divided into 3 categories: veterinary care, nutrition and behaviour.
AAP has a team of expert veterinarians, behaviour biologists and experienced animal care givers who endeavor to improve the physical and mental health of the animal and help him stay that way. Upon arrival, the animals first go into quarantine. Here they are given an extensive medical check-up. A treatment plan is drawn up for each animal, in which resocialization, possible medications and nutrition are described. More often than not, the animal has been given improper food for years (such as sweets, coffee and cola) which means that a personal diet plan needs to be developed. As soon as the animals are allowed to leave quarantine, they go to their new living areas. Here they are observed and treated further until they are ready to move to a permanent location. Every year all the inhabitants of AAP receive a medical check-up, whereby vaccinations are given, and a check is made to ensure that all is going well. If not, then steps are taken.
Most of the primates need to ‘unlearn’ their bad habits. Former domesticated animals in particular are accustomed to human attention and therefore do not seek it from others of their species. Therefore they don’t make friends! If the animals are not given individual attention, they will stop seeking it and will make quicker contact with their own sort.
Primates that were previously kept in small cages or alone often show stereotypical behaviour like polar bears or they even wound themselves. Distracting them with food puzzles, toys and others from their own species helps them to break their old habits. The amount of time required before an animal can be placed in a group is different for each animal. For instance, animals that were removed from their mothers at a very young age and therefore never learned social behaviour often require more time to learn this. A lot of patience and attention usually ensure that this is successful.