Thursday, June 15, 2006

I don't know why they do it.

Introducing Imanol. He is a young male howler monkey He came to us on the 12th of May 2006. He was born on the 1st of November 2005. He is typical of the young howlers that we care for in that he is highly domesticated and has been treated in every way like a young human child. On arrival he gave us a shock because he was wearing a nappy, and this is the first time I have ever seen a Howler wearing a nappy. He has a blanket which he loves and runs to at any sign of danger He demands, and gets 24 hour attention. At first he took all his meals from a scaled down version of a baby bottle. Now he is eating fruit and vegetables normally in addition to the bottle. He is very inquisitive and loves to explore his surroundings. Just recently we began taking him into out Botanic Garden everyday. There is a special tree that he likes because of its helta skelta appearance. That is the Meringa tree or Horse radish tree to give it its common name. Imanol plays in this tree for literally hours at a time. He is fascinated by it. As for me I take my tablet computer with me and write notes like this one for ‘Forget-me-not'. I am going to load a photo of Imanol in the Meringa tree.

I don’t know why they do it and I know there is no parallel in the wild for this behavior but all my monkeys cover themselves when there is a heavy rain storm or thunder. MonaLisa makes a dive for the nearest blanket or sheet and covers herself. Imanol does exactly the same. Sussy and Sophie have a pillow and blanket in their house and they also cover. Schatov and Emma are a little different; they go into the lower dark part of their house, which normally they do not use. It is extraordinary to see two animated blankets moving across the bed as I observed in a storm last night. I should explain that both Imanol and MonaLisa are now sharing my bed. He is still absolutely terrified of her but now tolerates her presence. She on the other hand is being incredibly patient and understanding with him and he is slowly responding to this approach. I am not sure I want this as a permanent arrangement. It remains to be seen this weekend when Toto, a 6 years old male joins us from Caracas. On past performance, MonaLisa may not be impressed, she has directed her attention to young human males, but I live in hope. (This is another crime her original kidnappers have committed against her) .Ultimately I would like to see Imanol with a female about his own age. Changes in social behavior are quite rapidly accepted. For example Schatov no longer misses his former very loving human family. He is too busy looking after Emma. In the same way Imanol has accepted he new life here.
Imanol’s garden activity has been slightly curtailed. I was hoping to be able to leave him there for short periods whilst I am working for example. But no, he is still small enough to wriggle through the wire. It takes him exactly 30 seconds to escape and follow me into my office. So basically, at the moment he is only using the garden when I am sitting with him or when Luis Angel has free time for him. We had exactly this same situation when Schatov came to us. We had to obtain very small aperture wire for the enclosure because he could easily wriggle through the larger gauge wire. This of course will not be a permanent situation, as he is putting on weight quite rapidly. We are continuing with our visits to the Meringa tree daily and I know he loves that.

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