Saturday, November 25, 2006

Ramona, when day is done you'll hear my call.

Yesterday we visited Ramona, the street monkey as part of our ‘Outreach program’. We were horrified to see that she had been moved from her street tree to a location behind a shop. There is a tree but it is inferior to what she had. The whole area was dirty with discarded boxes and rubbish from the shop. Ramona was chained and clearly very unhappy. She was pacing up and down in the manner of caged animals. She has lost that fine gloss that she had on her coat. Continuous incarceration like this could seriously damage her mental heath. We will visit again during the next few days, to see if we can convince the owner to improve Ramona’s condition. My picture shows her today after I had delivered a fine bunch of fresh leaves taken from the forest this morning.

Below I repeat a previous posting about Ramona for those of you who have not yet read her story.

As well as looking after the monkeys we have in house, we also operate an outreach program. We visit monkeys we consider to be at risk in various areas of our locality. Ramona is a street Howler; she spends her day chained to a leafy street tree. When we first called on her, the owners were adamant that she was a boy and called her Ramon. ‘You can see, it’s quite obvious that Ramon is a boy’, the owners said. They were pointing at the external genitilia of a female Howler. Even though we showed the owner photographs of the male and female organs, they still refused to accept that their very beautiful young lady was a girl. Time passed and we continued to pay regular visits with bunches of leaves collected freshly from the forest. One day a year ago, she was not in her tree. We asked about her whereabouts and we were told that she was sick and in the house. The owner took us to see her asking if we could recommend a Vet to examine her. The whole story then came out. She had freed herself from the chain and climbed up onto the electric cables that ran across the top of the house. She received a shock and fell to the ground. She was in severe pain when we examined her. We called the ARFA to see if their Vet could come and treat Ramona. Fortunately, the Vet was available. So a large party came to visit Ramona. The president of ARFA Lucy Alio, Gabriela, and Gomikko the ARFA Vet and myself. The Vets opinion was that she had no lasting damage from the shock but had a hairline fracture from the fall. A course of treatment and medicine was prescribed and we left leaving a now visibly relieved owner.
She responded well to the treatment and within a few weeks, she was back in her tree. We have continued to visit Ramona.
A few months later, we again found that she was not in her tree and I was alarmed, thinking maybe that she had climbed onto the wire again. However, no. She had been moved to another tree behind an adjacent shop. She had become aggressive and had started biting people. Fortunately, this was only a temporary phase and on our later visits, she had returned to her tree in the street.
A strange reason finally convinced the owners that Ramona was a girl. We were taking a young male howler for a check up to the Vet in San Carlos, he has been plagued with mites in his coat, and we planned a short visit with leaves to Ramona on the way. Ramona gave us her usual friendly greeting and accepted our gift. The owners noticed the monkey in the car and wanted to play with him. ‘Oh that is a boy’, the owner could see the difference and now at last recognizes Ramona as a girl.

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