Tuesday, May 06, 2008

How does it all begin?

Where do the monkeys at Canaote come from?

This is a real note although I have changed the name.

‘On Wed, Apr 30, 2008 at 4:24 PM, Juan wrote:

Dear Friends,

My name is Juan and I’m from Edo. Miranda, and I have a baby monkey very young, it have very few days of born, well I am interested in give it to your care, but I need to know how we can accord a meeting or a process in order to give him to you, my phone is xxxx-xxx.xx.xx. I don’t speak English so if you have some friend that speaks Spanish is the best.
Best regards.


This message is a cry for help. The young owner, now quite deeply involved in his school studies, was unable to continue caring for this tiny baby. I informed Gabriela and Lucy the president of ARFA. Between them they are ‘The Simian Samaritans’. They arranged to collect the child from near Caracas and with Professor Evelyn brought the baby to Canaote yesterday. It was first thought that the monkey was a boy. We planned calling him ‘Bravo’. But a look under the towel revealed that he was a she, a beautiful young lady, now called ‘Ella’. We have this picture for you.

All the monkeys at Canaote have been donated. The reasons for the donation are many. Some are acceptable reasons and others not.
Very often the reason is that the baby monkey is being sold on the side of the road and the person feels overcome with pity for the small red ball of fur being held up and offered for sale. There is a notion that they are saving this tiny monkey. Nothing can be further from the truth. The child captured the cute baby, by shooting the mother with a shotgun, then taking the child from the dead mother. This sale sends the culprit scuttling back to the forest to kill another mother. Older monkeys are not saleable by the roadside. This sale simply fuels another killing and another sale by the roadside.

Having bought the monkey, arriving home with the child is often a shock. There are other members of the family to consider. Who will look after the little person? Where can it live? What will it eat? Clearly, if the baby was bought on the off chance, there is no plan and no cage or facility will be available.

Presume for a moment that these problems are solved. They search the Internet and get a good idea of what the monkey needs to eat and what kind of enclosure to build. After a while the little person is allowed free run of the house. All monkeys are destructive. Unintentionally, but just in the act of their play they destroy furniture and equipment. (The author has an expensive new flat screen television with a great crack going the full length of the screen.)

Play always involves biting. This can be gentle but if applied to a small child it could be dangerous. Biting is not only restricted to play. Monkeys have moods just like humans. They can without warning attack the human friend quite viciously and without warning. Sussy, that wonderful old lady and mother, came to us because she had attacked the daughter of the owner's housekeeper. The girl had to go to a hospital for treatment and lost a great deal of blood. Again this applies to all monkeys and in particular when they reach early adulthood.
Biting is one of the chief reasons people finally ask me to take their monkey. Another is the time that care takes. Vacations become problematic if a temporary care person is not readily available. Yet again, a change in the family circumstances can cause an owner to dispose of their pet. One bridegroom to be, told me frankly,' It is either me or the monkey, she better make up her mind'. They left the monkey with me and the bride to be left in a flood of tears. The tales I hear are sometimes less than ingenious, like "found it wandering in the street', yes Caracas is full of monkeys wandering in the street, but they are not non human primates.

1 comment:

Gabriela de Olivieri said...

Philip, lo felicito por su escrito, es la cruel realidad.
Esta nueva monita deberìa estar en estos momentos abrazada a su madre para recibir el amor, el calor y la leche materna que tanto necesita, y sin embargo tiene que ser cuidada por humanos.
A las personas que lean este mensaje, no compre animales silvestres en las carreteras, aunque les de lastima, porque el vendedor inmediatamente va a asesinar otra madre para quitarle al bebè y poder seguir con su negocio.

Gracias Philip, por cuidar y amar a estos hermosos niños, Dios lo bendiga.