Her human family were naturally very upset to leave her with us. She had lived with them for all of her years. Like many monkeys who come to us, she was the subject of a family conflict. They had to find a new home for her. At first she went to a Caracas zoo but they told the family that they could not accept her for more than a few days. Toula was very unhappy in the zoo and began to scratch her arms, legs and tail. This caused a considerable loss of fur in all those areas. This is an anxiety reaction and a warning sign of depression. Yes monkeys suffer mental problems just like humans. Lucio’s mum is a friend of Toula’s family. When she heard of Toula’s problem, she telephoned me to see if we have a vacancy for a young lady capuchin. The answer was yes we have a place, possibly with our lonely Capuchin male, Oliver. To begin with she shared with Chiquatin and Zeus. Introduction to Oliver just didn't work out. She was not interested and he made no effort at a relationship. However she settled down very quickly and got over the grieving for the loss of her human family. Oliver is an older monkey and set in his ways. Accepting Toula was too much of a challenge for him. We tried inviting her to share with Jane and Sofia. This worked out very well. She was soon accepted as one of the family.
The only remaining problem was the addition financial burden. It is another mouth to feed and tend. The cost of care of a monkey in Canaote is no less than that in their original human homes. Food, Veterinary charges and staff like everything else, are growing expenses. But there can be no compromise when it comes to a baby’s health and well-being.
We solve a critical problem for many people. ‘Where can I take my monkey, now that I can no longer maintain him?’ We have twenty monkeys in our care. That is twenty problems solved for human families. Some owners visit often and are generous with gifts of food and money. But they are a small group who continue to care. Others could do more.
Our photograph is Toula soon after joining Sofia and Jane in their enclosure. More about their relationships in a later post.
Toula's human mother is at present taking a course in Indonesia and in spite of the great distance she enquires about Toula often and makes a generous and regular donation every month.