Monday, August 8, 2011

Monkey Business

The White Capuchin Monkey
What would a rain forest trip be without seeing monkeys?  Everyone goes expecting to see them and some people succeed.  My first time in the rain forest was the most disappointing because I NEVER got a good look at them.  They were high up in the trees and fast moving.  Over the years, I discovered that early mornings, sunsets, water and fruit were attractions for lots of monkeys.  But you had to keep your eyes open and your mouth shut.  Today is a fun post with A LOT of pics from the Wildlife Rescue and Rehab center known as La Jungla which is run by Dorothy "aka Queen of the Jungle".  She originally hails from Florida and began working the wildlife rehab in Boquete. Here are some random and fun facts from my travels abroad observing both wild and "tame" monkeys.  

First off, I have to mention that I went through massive withdrawals without my 5 cats.  So when I was at this rehab, I spent too much time with these very active monkeys.  Both of the monkeys in this particular area were former pets from owners who no longer had space for them.  They played as if they were siblings and it was really cute.  Handling monkeys is a strange experience....because they have tails that act like a 3rd hand.  They are also quite intelligent and possess skills that no ordinary dog or cat has. You have to wonder why people would kill or trap such a magnificent animal that is in so many ways like us.
Here he is on my arm for a brief moment before jumping off.  On this particular trip, I witnessed wild capuchin on Coiba Island.  They were throwing mangos at our cabin in the morning.  I'll show those pics during the Coiba highlights post.  Capuchin monkeys are very curious creatures.  In the wild, they watch from a distance.  As former pets, they are like a younger brother or sister:) I imagine my cabinets and fridge at home and the food all over the floor!!
This look(above) was for the in stop taking pics of me!  Panama has several species of monkeys which also include the very loud howler monkeys.  My first experience with a howler was with Pepe in the Amazon.  He was smelly, big, and at times dirty.  At night, he would take my underwear out of my backpack along with other clothes.  In the morning I would wake up to find them all over our bungalow!  Howlers have a very scary call that can send chills up and down your spine, but they are, for the most part, peaceful creatures.  One day we found Pepe eating out of a fruit bowl.  I filmed some video and it's on this blog from last year.  Just type in Peru and the Amazon and you should be able to find that vid.  In Panama, there are two types of is brown while the other is black and only found on Coiba island.  They are commonly found in most places where there is rain forest.
This is my friend Desiree.  Our Capuchin friend bounced all over the place because he was excited to see us.  Now that normally isn't the case in the wild.  Monkeys have been known to throw their feces at people from above.  They've also been known to bite.  In Cape Verde, during my Peace Corps years, I remember watching a green monkey attack a woman with a broom on top of her roof while trying to do her laundry.  I tried to keep a straight face while teaching the very boring English language. 

This guy was fast.  The White Faced Capuchin is also commonly found in Panama wherever there is rain forest.  While I question wildlife rescue and rehab places anywhere I go(including my own country), I do see a need for them.  Here's a thought to ponder.  It has been known that poachers will kill an animal for their fur and then discover a litter of babies.  They then take these babies to rehab centers and ask for money or they'll kill them.  I don't know what the answer to this is because my mother was/is kind of a rescue person for parrots herself.  People really need to think about what they're doing when they adopt a macaw or monkey!!  My house is full of macaws and African Gray parrots that were raised from eggs donated to my mother because the owners could no longer care for them.  My concern for this particular issue is....what happens when my parents pass?  Someone on this trip gave me the idea that I need to sit down with them and have a will made up for these magnificent birds....perhaps a local zoo where they could educate kids and live a full life?   Do you see the dilemna? If you don't know, parrots usually outlive their owners.  My 5 other siblings have expressed concern over these "other members" of our family.  I got the sense that Dorothy didn't do this kind of business, but she did say that lots of people now come to visit her because they have these animals that they no longer want.  What would you do?  I'm an animal lover and when an animal is hurt or suffering, my heart bleeds.  I'll do anything for them.  Why?  Because animals are pure beautiful beings. 
Here I am with my arms full of sand fly bites and two monkeys playing.  The bottom monkey is the "mono titi" or the squirrel monkey.  He is endangered unfortuneatly unlike his companion. They both wanted attention and were wrestling me for it.
This pic with Desiree reminds me of how my cats look at me when I am on the couch relaxing.  Look at that squirrel monkey's face!!
Human to monkey ratio.
Lots of monkey love! This little guy decided to eat banana and get it all over my shirt.  No table manners at all:)
Exhausted after playing with us for awhile.

The Jungla Rescue and Rehab is 20 minutes away from downtown Boquete. There was a black monkey that was severely beaten by its former owner and is currently in the rehab area.  There was a Tamarin monkey as well.  He was a bit shy, but I did get a nice shot of him.  Dorothy had several birds including a scarlet macaw.  Of these two species, both are critically endangered in the wild habitat of Panama.  Panama is certainly not Costa Rica in that it has decimated a lot of rain forest for agriculture. Different needs from different countries.  I'll get into more of that later on. But you do need to think about this....Costa Rica's number one focus is tourism.  Panama's is agriculture.  Only now is Panama trying to attract more tourists to the country and protecting several large and unexplored areas of rain forest....which is a postive thing.  The Tamarin monkey can still be found in the very dangerous and unexplored  Darien Gap.  We couldn't get there due to the heavy rains which flood most of this area during this time of year.  The Scarlet Macaw has a large colony that is increasing on the sacred island of Coiba.  I will be able to take you there.....all I can say is that it was magical.  When you walk into primary forest, nothing in the world prepares you for the sights and sounds of unmapped jungle.  We had a great time at Jungla and I'd like to thank Dorothy for the opportunity to get an up close and personal view of many amazing jungle critters. While we were there, several possums were being relocated to farms to help with the poisonous snake issues (because possums eat snake...and pretty much everything else:).  They found the family of possums in a home and normally they would be killed, but Dorothy convinced the homeowners that they could be relocated....and they were.    I created 4 videos that I will be presenting over the course of the next several weeks. Several video shots will include our visit to this very fun center.

the Tamarin Monkey with my Canon.....I love my camera!
This monkey is very shy in the wild. He did like marshmellows:) The Tamarin monkey is on the lower end of the totem pole when it comes to dominance in the rain forest.  Other monkeys will attack and kill these little guys.  Therefore they go to bed earlier than most monkeys.  They also sound like birds chirping in the wild allowing themselves to go unseen by predators.
Jungla Wildlife Rescue & Rehab
Telephone 6968-6010
A donation is asked at the door

More tomorrow friends....


  1. Wow! You have a way with animals. They seemed perfectly happy in your arms. Looks like a great place that's doing things the right way!


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