Milly, Queenie, & Jenny

We provided funding for the rescues of 3 common marmosets Milly, Queenie, and Jenny; all casualties of the UK trade in primates as pets. Jenny had previously lived with a male marmoset for 12 years until he passed away. Queenie had lived alone for at least eight years but had a very caring family and Milly had suffered terrible abuse, from one of her former owners.

All three were nervous arrivals at Monkey World. Milly and Jenny were both underweight and Jenny had a large mass in her mouth. Queenie was a little overweight and seemed a little more confident than the other two. Jenny was immediately started on a course of antibiotics and pain relief straight away to help what we initially thought was a dental abscess. Milly would try and disappear whenever she saw us, flattening herself behind branches. It was hard to see but the staff at the park knew it was due to her traumatic past and it would take time to gain her trust.

Jenny finished her course of antibiotics, but the mass was still very large, so the vet came in to take a look. Unfortunately, what we thought was an abscess turned out to be a growth in her gum and jawbone growing around her teeth. The vet removed as much as he could, and a sample was sent off. Jenny was able to eat much better even with just some of the lump removed but this didn’t stop the anxious wait while we waited for the results to come in. Fortunately, it was good news for Jenny as the tests revealed that the lump was benign.

Social introductions started after Jenny recovered from her visit to the vet. However, at the same time as starting the girls’ introductions, we had some group breakdowns with other marmosets, so we now had Albert, Mojo, and Comet to consider in any new groups we tried to make. Many combinations were tried, almost everyone met everyone at some point. Fairly quickly we found we had one settled pair, the ladies Mojo & Queenie, and not long after it became clear that Albert & Jenny made a good stable pairing. These two pairs are getting along really well and long may it continue!

Introductions with Milly were not so easy, she was terrified of everyone and everything. Initial meetings with Comet went well but it became apparent that Milly didn’t understand marmoset behaviour which was making the introductions difficult. It was clear that Milly was one of the most psychologically damaged marmosets ever rescued from the UK pet trade. She was scared of people and had very few marmoset social skills. She didn’t appear to understand the different vocalisations or how to act in different situations. This can occur when babies are taken away from their families at a very young age and have no conspecifics to learn from. We decided we needed to try a more mature and stable male to help Milly gain confidence and learn marmoset behaviour and 11-year-old male Jock was just the character. Jock had been living with Max at the time so we tried Comet with Max and they were great together which meant that Jock could now meet Milly. And it worked! It is so wonderful to see that Milly is happy to follow and sleep with Jock and we have even seen her grooming him in their outside enclosure!

We were worried that Milly’s abusive past may have caused her permanent damage, but the companionship of her own kind and an appropriate environment was what she needed. It is what ALL marmosets need and deserve regardless of where they are living.