Saturday, August 04, 2007

Introducing Eslabon

Eslabon came to Cañaote last Thursday the 2nd of August and we understand that he is one year old. He is physically fit and his coat is in good condition. He is taking his separation from his human family badly. He cried frequently on the first day. Now he is establishing a new bond to me and he is very demanding. He wishes to be with me all the time. This is frequently the case with children who have had strong relationship with humans before coming here. Of course I like to think that this is our specialty, caring for highly domesticated Howlers.

I see our task as twofold. Firstly the most painless transition to a new home that is possible. This, we try to achieve by keeping the monkey in close proximity to us. When a new monkey arrives they always have a home adjoining our house and where frequent contact with them is possible. If they are unhappy, we can hear them crying and go to them with love and support just as you would a human child. Usually on the first and subsequent nights we take them into our own rooms. This is necessary because as yet they will not have a companion. Howlers depend for warmth in the night by close proximity to another monkey. Sleeping alone is open to the danger of hypothermia.

Second part of our task is to settle the child with a suitable companion in a location designed for long term living.

Often our monkeys have never lived as monkeys. Rather they have been treated as small human children. We attempt to teach them the monkey life by giving them natural surroundings and suitable companions. All our enclosures are large and have real trees. Their food is as natural as we can possibly make it with fresh fruit and leaves brought in from the forest everyday in addition to a specially prepared balanced diet. At the same time these children have become accustomed to some human comforts and it would be mean to deprive them of these things on a matter of principal. For example, Howlers love hammocks and the more the better. They love boxes of all kinds and old top loading washing machines. In preparing a suitable home for Eslabon we had a special task of converting an old washing machine for him. This particular machine had been of high quality and the central spindle appeared at first impossible to remove. At first we thought we it too difficult but fortunately an engineer, who lives near us, saw our problem and came with suitable equipment and succeeded in removing the spindle. It now resides in Eslabon’s enclosure.
His enclosure is really quite crowded with furniture.
He has a large house with pillows and blankets. This has been specially constructed for him in Saman wood. It is a tall house with two soft doors so that he has easy access but at the same time stays warm. The walls are plastic coated to give him added comfort. Yesterday the farm was filled with the sound of the wood cutting machine and drills applying screws to his new house. He has a human size hammock as well as a small one. Numerous ropes and of course his washing machine.
His enclosure has been built in the corridor of our house in a location adjoining my bedroom. It also has a gated window to his outside garden, which has live trees as well as many bamboo walkways.
In the coming days we will be introducing him to a number of other monkeys. We will be looking for a suitable companion for him.

He is a charming and gentle monkey and I am certain he will be happy here.
Our top picture shows Eslabon testing out the bed in his house and the second picture shows him getting comfortable on my lap.

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