Saturday, November 15, 2008

Jako arrives at Canaote




On Friday night the waif arrived. She is the child that Ramona has been fostering. Her name is Jako. She is one year old and her birthday will now be yesterdays date, the day she arrived at Canaote. She is a large and healthy Howler monkey. Looking at her face I am reminded of MonaLisa, their features are very similar. We have not yet decided on a plan for her. Many people do not realise that you can't just put a bunch of monkeys together and hope for the best. Just like humans they have their likes and dislikes. Of course there are also hereditary factors involved. For example in the wild, when a male alpha takes over a group, he will kill any young males that are not his. This characteristic, perhaps modified by human association, still exists in in Monkeys in captivity.

We have spent the whole day today, rotating Jako among our enclosures. We started overnight by putting her together with young Erik. This was not a bad match. But you can't expect a positive result from just one contact. At breakfast time we introduced Jako to Schatov, Lucio and Monito. They showed an interest in her. They did not overly interfere with her and I was quite hopeful that with a little patience some good relations could be set up. Schatov and surprisingly Lucio showed her courtesy. They sat beside her and showed interest but very well behaved.

Later we moved Jako into the enclosure of Maniña, Tutti and Miss Billy. The idea here was to sample attitudes among monkeys who were not likely to be competitive. Tutti wanted to play with the new comer. Maniña being spade did not show any sexual interest and typically Miss Billy kept herself to herself. This I thought was a positive environment for Jako to start her life here at Canaote. Non combatative  and peaceful.

Frankly Jako couldn't wait to get out of there.

I decided on a slow introductory program for Jako and the Schatov group. We reentered their enclosure four times during the course of the day and on each occasion noticed a softening of Jako's attitude and a greater willingness to involve herself in the activity of the enclosure. Finally towards evening she entered their house and stayed there for quite a while. During that time Schatov and Lucio both entered the house and there was not a bad reaction. It was fascinating to see how the males courted Jako. There were some great displays of gymnastic ability. Clearly they wanted to show her their manhood. But it was done in a surprisingly  delicate and polite way.

This program shows a positive result and we will continue with it over the next few days.


The background story to Jako is still unclear. I will report on this further when the smoke has cleared.

Our picture shows Jako getting comfortable in my quarters on her first night here at Canaote.

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