Balou arrived at the New Hope Centre in October 2010. he had spent his life being juggled from zoo to zoo. On his initial assesment it was clear that Balou has suffered tremendously throughout his life. We expected certain stereotypical behaviours which are common in an animal kept in captivity - what we did not expect was what we saw. Balou had given up on the world and it was clear that his total lack of reaction to anything around him indicated that he was willing his life to end in order to escape the daily misery of his life.
Upon his arrival at New Hope he hid in the nightroom and would not leave it until he was absolutely certain that there was no one around. In the mornings as we did our daily routine checks on the animals we would find that all his food had been eaten and there would be a trail of water from his bath back into the nightroom.
In December of 2010 we managed to construct a new outdoor enclosure for Balou and transferred him there to complete his rehabilitation. Although Balou kept to the same pattern of hiding during the day and only coming out at night - we did notice that he was venturing further and further into his enclosure.
Come Spring 2011 we finally had a breakthrough. One warm spring day we approached the enclosure fence and peered into the nightroom where Balou was seated in his usual place. With some encouraging words from us and a great deal of patience Balou stood up and came slowly to the nightroom door. With handfulls of apples dipped in honey which we would push through the enclosure fence, Balou settled at the door and happily munched on the apples we supplied. This was a huge step forward in Balou learning to trust once more. With patience and bundles of special treats Balou has come leaps and bounds, and now enjoys all areas of his enclosure with or without people around!