Baby Swapping at Bayon Temple On June 25th, 2022

Baby Swapping at Bayon Temple On June 25th, 2022
Rose gave birth to her third child. She had suffered a miscarriage in 2021 making this child even more treasured. Rose is a kind and nurturing mother. She is very protective of her babies and allows them full access to milk during the first months of life. This created what appeared to be a calm and nurturing bond between mother and daughter. Her beautiful daughter Rainbow was very small, causing initial worry about her chances of survival. But, she was drinking plenty of milk and as the days passed, tiny Rainbow was steadily growing stronger. About a week later, on July 3rd, 2022, abandoned monkey Libby of the Savana troop gave birth for the first time. Her son Brady was a big baby, born healthy and strong. As the first baby to be born in the Savana troop, He was greeted with great excitement by the young members of his troop. For humans, Brady was treasured as a symbol of hope for the future of the ever-evolving troop. Being an abandoned pet, Libby had no motherly example to follow and no experience with newborn babies. And so, Libby depended fully on maternal instinct to guide her through the first weeks of Brady’s life. Libby seemed a bit impatient and frustrated with her new son. She restricted the amount of nursing she allowed Brady to do and would push him off of her and leave him crying on the ground. Libby being rough with Brady soon resulted in his left arm being injured. Rose started to frequently visit Libby in Savana troop. Everyone hoped the young mother would learn from watching Rose. Unfortunately, this did not occur.
          To everyone’s dismay, Libby continued to be overly rough with her son. On July 27th, 2022 Rose went to visit Savana troop again. During the visit, Libby pushed Brady off of her body. Distressed at being left alone, the baby boy lay on the ground crying loudly. Rose, who seemed to have been watching for her chance, quickly scooped Brady up and attempted to leave with him! Outraged, Libby attacked Rose, attempting the retrieval of her son. In the struggle, Rose lost her grip on one of the babies and it fell to the ground! Libby plucked the baby up as Rose ran away from the troop. But, Rose had taken the wrong baby! This had never happened before. Everyone was sure that Rose would come back for Rainbow. After everything had calmed down Libby and Rose inspected the babies they were holding. And then… Everyone watched Rose hold Brady closely as she groomed and fed him.
        They kept watching as Libby held Rainbow closely while she groomed and fed her. Surprisingly, both monkeys acted like nothing had changed! Research has shown that monkeys can identify family members by smell. They should know 100% which baby is theirs. Yet even when Rose went close to Savana troop the next day, she did not try to get Rainbow back. Neither of the monkeys tried to get their babies back! Meanwhile, people on social media were begging the cameramen to switch the babies back. People who had fallen in love with Rainbow worried that Libby would hurt her. While, supporters of Savana troop were hoping that Rose would keep Brady until his arm healed. But, they still wanted him back with his mother as quickly as possible. After days of pressure from viewers all over the world, the videographers decided they would attempt to switch the babies back. Libby, already very tame, was easily manipulated into giving up Rainbow. Rose, however, is not known as ‘Kung Fu Rose’ for nothing! On July 29th ‘Operation Baby Swap’ began. Cameramen filming Savana troop brought Rainbow to Amber troop to lure Rose down from the trees. The first obstacle occurred soon after they arrived. It wasn’t only Rose who wanted to save the baby. Several monkeys came to get the crying infant! Baby Rainbow had to be kept in the hands of someone to prevent a troop member from kidnapping her. Eventually, Rose came down to investigate. She picked Rainbow up as everyone hoped she would. But, no sooner did a brave volunteer get a hold of Brady than Rose let go of Rainbow and then sprang high into the air. Rose jumped on top of the startled man’s head! Then, using her mouth, she snatched up Brady and climbed to the top of a high tree. Dejected, the Cameramen walked back to Savana troop and returned Rainbow to Libby. A few other attempts were made over the following weeks. But, even using food no one could get Brady away from his protective new mother. Everyone was just starting to accept the situation. When the staff of a nearby NGO was persuaded by viewers to attempt switching the babies back. On August 20th, Brady was kidnapped by Button. While Rose did not have Brady, the NGO brought little Rainbow to Amber troop in a small Kennel. The kennel was no barrier at all. Rose quickly opened the kennel and freed Rainbow.
        Unfortunately, Rose showed no interest in her daughter Rainbow. She put Rainbow down and instead followed Brady who had been kidnapped by Button. Rainbow was being held by Anita who allowed her to nurse but although sometimes still nursing Astra, Anita was thought to not have breast milk. Attempting to get Rainbow back, Anita was given a mango to encourage her to let the baby go. She did let Rainbow go… after first climbing up into a tree! High up in the tree, Rainbow clung precariously to a flimsy branch and cried. It was a tense few minutes until Bonita picked the baby monkey up. Despite efforts being made by both the NGO and Cameramen, Rainbow was still with Bonita the next day. It was now August 22nd. Both Brady and Rainbow had been away from their mothers for a day and a half. Things were becoming dangerous for the two babies. If they were not rescued soon, the baby monkeys would become dehydrated. Worried about Rainbow and Brady, Sochhun Ley came to Amber troop to offer his help. Sochhun lured Bonita down with a box of soy milk.
As Sochhun allowed the monkey to drink, little Rainbow stretched up trying to get even a little bit of the life sustaining liquid. Bonita became distracted by the yummy treat and Sochhun made his move. It was so fast that if you blinked you would miss it. Sochhun swiftly plucked Rainbow out of Bonita’s grasp. For what seemed like the first time in days, Rainbow stopped crying. She was too busy drinking boxed milk to cry. Within the hour, Rainbow was back with her adopted mother, Libby. A few days later the two were reunited with Savana troop. Soon after Rainbow was given back to Libby, Rose was able to get Brady away from Button. Both of the baby monkeys were unharmed. Luckily, this story has a happy ending. But for the quick hands of a monkey-loving Videographer, it could have ended in tragedy. Rose and Libby keeping one another’s children is unheard of! Yet, they clearly made their choices known. By choosing NOT to attempt the rescue of their own babies, they let us know that they were happy. The incessant pressure of people on social media to intervene with nature created a stressful and dangerous situation for the monkeys. I sincerely hope that everyone learned an obvious lesson from these events. Let the monkeys make their own decisions and leave nature alone. Written by Lorry Kaller

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