Orphan Baby Dustin

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Orphan Baby Dustin

Orphan baby Dustin was born into the Amber troop on December 22, 2019. He became an orphan when his mother Diamond was killed in a tragic accident. None of the cameramen witnessed it. They only arrived early that morning, to see the removal of her body by ASPARA. When asked what happen they were told that she had been attacked and bitten by some of the local abandoned dogs living nearby the temple. Since the attack occurred inside the walls of Bayon Temple away from the watchful eyes of any humans that might have been able help her, her fate was sealed. The only witnesses were the other monkeys and her son Dustin. After the removal of Diamonds body, a traumatized Dustin desperately searches, cries, and looks everywhere for his mother. His charming face changed from happy and confident to worried, scared, and confused. Cooing and crying calling out for his mom, alerted his friends. They all came and tried to comfort him, but little orphan Dustin blatantly pushed them away. He had only one mission in mind, finding his mom. Scared he scans the area inspecting all the nearby trees, scampering over rocks, looking side to side. If only he could see her face, but still no mom. He was all alone. Clearly the situation terrifies the pint size Dustin. Without his mother he loses his status in the troop. Not much help for a low-ranking monkey. Fortunately for him his older sister Nanda hears his cries and comes to comfort him. He welcomes her and she begins to groom him. Exhausted, and in the safe hands of his sister he lies down closes his eyes for some much-needed rest. Tired and hungry orphan baby Dustin at only 4 months old, without a mother to supply milk for him places Dustin at serious risk for dehydration due to the sweltering heat of the jungle. At this age babies still rely on their mother’s milk as their main source of food nursing off and on, all day long.

Babies stomachs are small and absorb the milk quickly due the calories burned from playing, jumping, and climbing normal activities for a baby monkey. They are also still studying and watching their mothers to learn how to forage. How to catch insects what to eat and what not to eat. Sadly, in the macaque world they do not share food! So young and vulnerable Dustin faces starvation. How can orphan baby Dustin survive? He will have to rely on his instincts and what he has learned. One reliable skill in his favor is he can climb a tree which guarantees his safety from dangerous situations. Thankfully, for orphan baby Dustin, female troop member Piper being an orphan herself comes to investigate. Right away she is interested, and orphan baby Dustin gets his first glimpse of hope when Piper adopts him. Shaken from his ordeal Dustin finds solace in the arms of Piper as she picks him up and carries him beneath her belly as his own mother would, but Piper has no milk to nourish him. However, Piper can provide a level of protection for him, keep him safe and warm at night. But food is another matter. If orphan baby Dustin is to survive, he will have to learn how to feed himself. How to guard his food from other juvenile monkeys and elders just waiting for the opportunity to seize the food right out of his hands. So, Dustin needs to grow up fast. Nonetheless, as a new day begins and the sun rises over Bayon temple there is help, as an all too familiar sound approaches. It is the cameramen and Dustin knows they will bring food. He rushes to the scene where the cameramen bring welcomed amounts of food and a bottle of milk for him. Hungry he pushes his way through the clammer of monkeys to the sweet nectar that awaits him. The cameraman holds an open bottle of milk and orphan baby Dustin latches on tightly drinking while other monkeys try to muscle the precious liquid away from him. Getting in through the crowd is challenging for a small baby monkey. But he does not give up and soon he is fed well, and a gentle calm falls over him. For now, he will be okay.

But orphan baby Dustin faces more challenges daily. The male juveniles bully him, and Dustin will have to learn how to defend himself. His brother David helps warding off his attackers but only for the moment. With no mother to protect him this will be a regular routine for baby Dustin. Since the death of orphan baby Dustin’s mom. He has struggled and become a tough little monkey in his own rite. He is older now and stands up to his would-be attackers and feeds himself well. Piper is there for him but has done her job as best she could to mother him. Piper is pregnant and will soon become a mother herself. No one really knows why Piper adopted baby Dustin since there is no connections to his family. Or is there? Maybe she did it out of the goodness of her heart remembering herself being orphaned not too long ago when her mother Penelope and baby brother Peter went missing. What Piper did is called allomothering or caretaker. Usually this done by adolescences that need proper training and experience on how to care for a baby. Normally performed by a female that has never had an offspring. Some also call this aunting. So, it is true, just before dawn inside the beautifully, adorned walls of Bayon Temple it hides its secret of a tragic event that happened to baby Dustin. His mother savagely attacked by dogs living at the temple grounds. I am sure he witnessed this terrifying event and who knows what scars he took with him. And I am positive Diamond sacrificed her life to protect her baby. Luckily, with the support from his sister Nanda, brother David, adopted mother Piper, and his troop. At a year old now the future looks promising for orphan baby Dustin. Written by Ann R

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