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7 Monkeys Graduate to our Pre-Release Enclosure!

We have some more great news! Several of our juvenile howler monkeys have “graduated” to the next step in our release program! Mango, Stan, Santiago, Ginger, Ana, Felix, and Fran have just moved from the juvenile nursery into our pre-release enclosure. This is a huge milestone for these monkeys, some of whom have been with us since infancy. This is the 4th step in our 5 step rehabilitation program where the monkeys will now have very limited human contact in preparation to move them to a release location.


Mango is the alpha of the group, having asserted his dominance when he was much younger. He was the first in the group to start howling and he has a very loud howl.  Mango fell from a tree as an infant when he and his family were trying to cross the road. There was a gap in the trees and Mango jumped and missed, falling onto the road. He suffered from head trauma and required extensive medial care.  Mango still has a “lazy” looking eye from the fall and tilts his head to see certain angles. This disability hasn’t stopped him from become the most powerful member of his family.


Fran has shown a lot of improvement in his climbing in the last months, but he still has more practice to do before he’s ready for release. When Fran was younger, he was found injured and alone with an exposed broken bone on his right arm. We suspect Fran was attacked by an alpha male. Attacks are common when the alpha of the group is replaced or when juvenile males show signs of dominance. Fran was 18 months old when he was attacked so badly that his arm needed to be amputated. He’s got a shy personality and tends to spend a lot of time snuggled up with one of the younger juveniles. With the addition of this outside enclosure, Fran is now getting more exercise and learning how to climb with his disability…though he’s still an expert in laying around and relaxing!


Stan and Santiago are best friends – they were transferred to us from another centre that was not registered to care for primates, and unfortunately, they had been humanized. They behaved like pets and unfortunately were older monkeys which makes rehabilitation much harder. It has been a challenge to teach these two to behave more like wild monkeys because they see humans as something to interact with. Now that they are much older and stronger, this kind of interaction can be very dangerous.  In order to be eligible for release, they must not show any signs of wanting human attention. It is our hope that his next stage in the program will help them reach this goal. Stan and Santiago are best friends and do absolutely everything together! Stan is the oldest and acts like a big brother, and Santiago follows him everywhere wanting to explore and play games!


Ginger joined us after she was found very sick by the side of the road the morning after Tropical Storm Nate. She needed urgent care from our veterinarian, but quickly recovered from her illness. She grew strong and had previously been scheduled for release in early Feb 2019 (with Jordanny, Sophie and Lola), but she was held back because she became ill and needed several months of treatment in our clinic. Ginger lost most of her fur and a lot of weight when she was sick and needed to be closely cared for and monitored. Once Ginger was introduced to this new family group she started to shine again. She is now gaining a lot of weight, is healthy and loves her new family.  Ginger has a particularly close friendship with Fran, who is her favourite. They can often be found snuggling together. Ginger is the alpha female of the group already.


We are very happy to report that Felix is finally showing more signs of independence. As an infant, he was very needy. He would become upset if he didn’t have the full attention of our caregivers. When it was time to start giving the older rescues more time away from humans, Felix was not very happy about it. All the other orphans grew independent quickly, but Felix always cried out for attention when staff were near. It is very important for our rescues to no longer seek out human attention in order for them to be eligible for release so we worked very hard with Felix to help him gain more independence. He has become best friends with Ana and Mango who have both always had no interest in humans at all. This has helped Felix to prefer the company of other monkeys over humans. Although he’s the smallest of all the males in the group, he’s shown a lot of improvement over the past year.


Ana lost her mother due to electrocution and from day one Ana has been fiercely independent. She has never once wanted to attention of our human caregivers. She is best friends with Felix and she likes to groom him and nap beside him. Like Felix, Ana is also a small monkey and very submissive. For a long time, Ana was the only female in the group (we had more male rescues than females), but now that Ginger has joined the family Ana is much more happy. Ginger takes the lead as the alpha and Ana is happy taking it easy.