Boonlua and Bunnies

Today I received a bit more information on Boonlua the macaque and his companion rabbits. According to Ewa Narkiewicz, who helps run the Elephant Stay program at the Royal Elephant Kraal, Boonlua came to the Kraal three years ago. The pack of dogs who’d attacked him had ripped both legs and an arm off. “Although he was a wild monkey,” Ewa says, “he dragged himself to a temple as he was determined to live. The monks called a vet who fixed him up. Because he was a wild monkey, the monks could not take care of him, so they brought him here to be taken care of.”

Michelle Reedy, who works at the Kraal with Ewa, is an ex-zoo keeper from Melbourne, Australia. She designed a home for Boonlua and a varied diet of seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables. According to Ewa, Boonlua is also “particularly partial to eggs, rhinoceros beetles and other large live insects, as well as an occasional yoghurt or mentos sweet.”

Over time though, Michelle and Ewa became busier and had less time to spend with Boonlua. This is when they decided that he needed a friend.

“Toby was a young rabbit with a lovely nature. Boonlua likes to groom him. We could not give him another monkey because of his disability, but Toby the rabbit gives him the constant company he needs.This is not the first rabbit that Boonlua had. The first one was separated from him as she had got ill. Boonlua was very depressed by his loss and so we bought him another rabbit. It was a very young small rabbit. His first rabbit was larger as we did not know how Boonlua would react and wanted to give the rabbit a chance in case he attacked. This rabbit actually had babies and his reaction to the babies was very protective. He would not even let the mother rabbit near them to feed. He tried to stay awake all the time guarding them. He was so tired and kept nodding off but tried to remain awake to keep an eye on them. He was very possessive. We ended up having to take the babies and rabbit away. We put them right next to his cage so he could still see them and be next to them, but he could not touch them and the mother could care for them properly.”

Boonlua and Snowy the rabbit

His latest companion is Stripe the rabbit. We ended up getting Stripe as very young small rabbit, as Boonlua understood more about rabbits and how he could have a relationship with them. They spend time grooming each other and sharing food. Boonlua has been very possessive of all his rabbits. We discourage any one paying attention to Stripe as it makes Boonlua jealous, as it is his rabbit, and not for other people to interact with.

Photos and quotes: Ewa Narkiewicz, Elephantstay.

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