Mexican primate project-update 3

Hola amigos!

A short and sweet post from me and the team tonight, as we are bracing ourselves for another night of heavy rain.

The past two weeks have flown by! We had a few technical issues with our camp due to the hurricane in the pacific, which spread a lot of water our way, playing havoc with our scheduled (no painting or building from lack of dry wood, flooding meant we had no trip to the zoo to talk with directors about capturing our lone male for translocation into another new enclosure, no material deliveries, and no dry pants or other amenities). But all was not lost…we did what we could and then cracked on like troopers once the weather cheered up a bit (to almost 40 degrees!) Here is a quick list of our progresses so far:

Panzaburro was successfully rehomed in his new enclosure and is now loving life! Below is a picture taken before, and after…we hope the new facility speaks volumes as to the improvements made to his welfare. Panzaburro also now enjoys more company with limited tactile contact to conspecifics and other age mates-which we hope will lead to a full integration in the future.

I presented an educational talk to the sanctuary director and zoo keepers about the results of my previous study (conducted in 2013) and the importance of species-specific locomotion and socialization. This was a lovely opportunity for us to discuss future ideas including new plans for larger social enclosures, a social integration program, and even a baby nursery for new orphaned babies derived directly from the illegal wildlife trade. I presented the current results of  my socialization study which really emphasized the cognitive significance of fission-fusion socialization and the importance of social facilitation within captivity. Each one of our resident monkeys were represented and discussed at length in order to ensure that all management decisions are appropriate at individual level, taking into consideration their specific life histories and personalities.

Following the presentation we began introducing our newest arrival (Moni) to Ciriaca, an adult female with a longing for a baby. Ciriaca stole my heart last year, as she is a well-rounded monkey with exceptional social skills despite her past history within the pet trade. As a free ranging primate at Fenix, Ciriaca is friends with everyone, and if you can’t find her with the usual suspects, then you can be sure to find her clinging to the side of our large social enclosure trying to play and groom the infants through the wire. Unfortunately a previous unexpected pregnancy was unsuccessful and Ciriaca carried her deceased baby for two days before accepting its death. Ciriacas reaction to Moni was very moving, at first seeming unsure as to why the monkey was not accompanied by its mother, then taking it by the hand and not letting go for several minutes. I believe Ciriaca will make an excellent surrogate mother for new orphans, a possibility we are looking into for the future.

After six days of rain, the sunshine brought in new materials and new lease of life for our monkeys Nino, Naomi, Gorda, and Matha, who were all issued with a plethorer of enrichment activities -ropes, ladders, swings, elevated platforms, and shelters. We are now attempting to raise even more funds to create a social enclosure for them so they can learn to live closely with other monkeys of similar backgrounds within the pet trade.

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Oh and we got locked in my  observation area (aka “Jess’ cage”)whilst  I trained Robyn how to collect observational data….by a monkey climbing on the outside! Well its only fair I guess.

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