Friday, July 21, 2006

Man proposes, monkey disposes

The longer I work with Howler monkeys the more I learn about them and the more I respect their adaptability and intelligence. I have changed the accommodation of some of our monkeys. My first plan was to house Imanol in an enclosure, which adjoins and has access to my quarters. This is the highest level of domestic accommodation we have and is reserved for monkeys that have a very demanding need for human company. This plan had to be put on hold, since he is small enough to wriggle through the wire. It was also my plan that Rosita should join him. This is not an immediate possibility because she is just too small and too young. She cannot be more than 400 grams and 4 months old. Instead, Mañiña sharing with MonaLisa now occupies that enclosure and Imanol is more or less free to roam around the house and it's immediate area, although he spends most of his time attached to my right foot, and Rosita spends her days and nights on my shoulder. Now this restricts my movements considerably. I cannot for example visit Totto with the two children; he would almost certainly attack Imanol and probably Rosita as well. The same is true about visiting Sussy, Sophie and Marco. Sophie is a well-known antagonist of younger monkeys. Again, I would not be able to leave the farm but for the fact that, Imanol and Rosita are social animals and both are comfortable with David, Josephine the housekeeper and Luis Angel. When I want to be with the other children, I have plenty of deputies to help.

Mañiña has settled down well and now plays on ropes ladders and uses the bamboo walkways. He also has a football and after making sure that it would not bite, he has been playing with it. He is not showing much sign of the grief at parting from his former owner that he showed on his first few days here. I am sure he will never forget his human mother but he is practical and has decided to get on with his life. He is sharing with MonaLisa . He doesn’t yet show much interest in her and she is not part of his games. She on the other hand is still obsessive about mothering Rosita. I would rather that she had a baby of her own, so I keep them apart.
Finally, I reported the other day that Rosita had an infestation of stomach worms. This has completely cleared up. She is sleeping and eating well.
The photograph is of Mañiña taken a few days ago.
I suspect that his beard has been trimmed, it will not happen again. Like Samson, the beard is his manhood and he will be very proud of it.

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