DISLIKES ~ Nikki isn’t afraid of people, but there aren’t many that he especially likes. Nikki is also extremely sensitive to changes in his routine and habitat, and he will make it very clear when he’s unhappy about something new.
She called Wild Spirit for help. Because taking in new rescues is a huge commitment and responsibility, we devote serious time to deciding if it’s the right choice. Cecilia never gave up fighting for Nikki, and we finally agreed to take him when we thought he might be a good companion for one of our single females, Maki. Cecilia, her son, and two daughters drove him to Wild Spirit all the way from El Paso, Texas. They stayed overnight and the next day, hoping to make Nikki feel more comfortable with his difficult transition. They came to visit him several times after that.
Although Nikki was very happy with Maki, he never bonded with any of our staff and volunteers. He couldn’t truly trust any of us, and as a result, his naturally rough but playful behavior turned a bit aggressive. Eventually, Nikki sent our director to the hospital after an unexpected attack. Nikki’s human family had come to visit him, and Nikki was having a great time with them. Leyton stepped into the habitat in order to find one of Nikki’s toys. He thought he knew where Nikki had it stashed, and he thought he might want to play with it while his family was there. Without any indications that he was upset, Nikki suddenly rushed towards Leyton and started tearing at his legs. It was unclear what exactly Nikki was upset about, or why he had not displayed any warning signs. Everyone was too shocked to react at first, but finally, Nikki’s former owner grabbed Nikki by the hips to pull him away.
Leyton was able to get himself out of the habitat, and he was immediately rushed to the hospital. Thanks to the immense strength of Nikki’s bite, some of the wounds were bone-deep and took months to fully heal. Despite that day, we of course still treat Nikki with love and kindness, but at a respectful distance. Not only do we want to keep ourselves safe, but we don’t want to do anything that upsets Nikki so much. There’s no bad blood between Leyton and Nikki – they still visit through the fence, and Leyton is one of the only people who will go into Nikki’s habitat whenever necessary – but with great caution, of course. After Maki’s passing in 2017, Nikki lived alone. He was able to find a new friend in low-content rescue, Angel, who is also a senior.