Monkeyland

Meet the primates at The Special Monkey Home (part 2)

The Special Monkey Home was build for primates who are disabled, orphaned, elderly, blind or otherwise unable to live happily in the Monkeyland forest. We also welcome disabled primates from other locations in South Africa, and countries abroad to come and live out their lives with us.

All of the primates in our Special Monkey Home are here due to their quirks, disabilities and/or old age. Some have poor eye-sight, others have had limbs amputated and some are well, just old and grumpy (or crazy). But, to us, they are all very special.

We are not sure where they all come from or how they became `special` – it is often simply better not to ask.  I would not euthanize my mother if she had a limp, became blind, was a bit long-in-the-tooth or had diabetes. Ditto are our `special monkeys`, we will provide the best care we can until their last days.

These are the current species and individuals whom live in The Special Monkey Home (part 2)

Our Ringtail Lemurs:

UNO – the one eyed wonder; PERFECT – the magic male Ringtail and Surprise!

Uno (arrived May 2006) and Perfect (arrived August 2005) were both injured at their previous homes somewhere in South Africa.

Uno’s eye could apparently not be saved and Perfect lost one of his one arms and he is unable to bend one of his rear legs (probably due to a botched up vetenary job or neglect after his leg was broken).

Surprise (born September 2010) really was a surprise! One of our rangers found the little baby whilst cleaning one morning. He had seemingly been abandoned and suffered an injury to his leg which sadly had to be amputated. We are still unsure exactly who his mother is, but today Pacer takes good care of him!  Daddy Perfect has since been neutered. With his leg up (the unbendable left leg) it was too easy for him to get his leg over.  No more making babies for Perfect.  The Special Monkey Home is not the ideal nursery – their are way to many oddball individuals around.

Blondie, Bimbo and Betty are 3 unpopular Swedish girls (arrived October 2011) who used to live inside the Monkeyland forest. They were constantly bullied by the other Monkeyland Ringtails so we decided to move them to the Special Monkey Home. The 3 girls love it there. Pacer (arrived March 2010) is an old female who was pushed out of her group at Monkeyland, a common act even in the wild. Pacer was injured in the process and for her own safety was moved to the Special Monkey Home.  Pacer no longer paces, but the name stuck.  Ditto re Bones (mentioned in the previous write-up). Bones was skin and bones when we found her abandoned in The Monkeyland forest.  Her jaw was broken, and her ear was torn and infected, but this little thumb-sized baby pulled through.  Today a more appropriate name would be Flash or Dash, but Bones she will remain.  The broken jaw resulted in Bones having a skew mouth – or severe side-bite, but she is happy and healthy, and at the end of the day this is all that matters.

Cotton-Top Tamarins: Tamarins are very territorial and as two groups are currently living in Birds of Eden it would not be wise to try and introduce a third group and so, this family of cotton-tops live in the enclosure next to the Special Monkeys where they are very happy. Tamarins are from South America and cotton-tops inhabit a very small part of Columbia. They are currently listed as one of the top 25 most endangered primates. As with other Tamarins and Marmosets, only the dominant female will breed and generally give birth to twins. The rest of the group will then help take care of the infants. ‘Tongue-flicking’ is a unique Tamarin behaviour as is used to show aggression or during mating.

Capuchin Monkeys: Picasso dilikes human children, so he can not free-roam the Monkeyland forest, he is joined by Atifer and Finito in the Special Monkey Home.  Picasso is a 14 year old neutered male.

Atifer is an elderly primate whom was sent to us by Stighting AAP in Almere (Holland).  She is a confiscated laboratory primate, fortunate to be rescued by AAP.  She came to live with us at Monkeyland in 1999, but is not capable of surviving without extra care special for much longer. Atifer fell pregnant again this year – imaging your grandma has a baby! We thought that we would lose her and her baby during birth, but fortunately both survived. In order to prevent future pregnancies, and to ensure that Atifer snacks on the correct food, vitamins etc, we have moved her and her (final) baby Finito to The Special Monkey Home July 2012

These are the lemur and monkey individuals who currently live at Our Special Monkey Home, but please watch this space for further updates…part 3 will follow shortly.

Meet the primates at The Special Monkey Home (part 1)

TARZAN + JANE – “every forest needs a Tarzan and Jane”

Latin name: Ateles geoffroyi

SEPTEMBER 1990: Tarzan and Jane came to live at Monkeyland shortly after we opened to the public.  tarzan and Jane came from a petting farm and were fed incorrect foods for most of their lives.  Not much is known about their history, but they were about 9 or 10 years of age when they came to live here at Monkeyland. Jane has never liked crowds, she abhors being photographed, and she has a peculiar love-hate relationship with wheelchairs, push-chairs – basically anything on wheels.  Jane is also a compulsive groomer, and glutton. We moved Jane to The Special Monkey Home so that we could have better control over her food intake and self-mutilation habit.  Visitors to Monkeyland wander amongst the free-roaming primates, but visitors to The Special Monkey Home are no allowed to walk amongst the inhabitants.  The Special Monkey Home primates can only be viewed from the outside of their forested enclosure.  If they come up to the fence-line you can see them, but if they don’t – that’s also ok. Tarzan is Jane’s companion.  As mentioned, we are not sure what their history is, but it is easy to see that it was not a life you will dream about or get nostalgic of.

Tarzan has a terrible oral abscess when he arrived at Monkeyland.  It was so bad that he’s gums actually bled when he ate food types firmer than a banana.  An apple as example would make his gums bleed. Tarzan had emergency dental work performed on him during 1990, and shortly after he had a piece of his tongue removed because of skin cancer.

Tarzan appears obese, but this is not due to over-eating, it is in fact a non-malignant growth in his tummy.  We moved Tarzan to the Special Monkey Home so that Jane could have an companion, and so that we could control his food intake and ensure that no extra pressure (fat) is placed on the growth.  If unnecessary pressure is placed on his internal organs, it could be fatal.

Tarzan is well loved by our visitors because he has such a unique character – he drools constantly, likes his hair brushed forward (with his fingers) in a certain way, hitches rides on the back of The Special Monkey Home tortoises, pouts and struts about as if he is the sexiest primate you will ever lay your eyes on.

Like Jane, Tarzan does not like objects with wheels, and when he is upset or frustrated he make full use of his prehensile tail by picking up objects with it and flinging them around. Jane generally follows suit.

Although Spider Monkeys do not use tools, spider monkeys are regarded as intelligent primates. A study performed in 2007 concluded that spider monkeys were the third most intelligent non-human primate, behind only orang-utans and chimpanzees, and ahead of gorillas and all other monkeys.

Learn about Monkeyland and the primates who live here.


PRINCE CHARMING – the ‘not-so-charming’ Spider Monkey

Latin name: Ateles geoffroyi

June 2005: Prince was sent to live with us after being rescued by an organisation in Israel from a horrid past.  As usual we did not ask many questions, we simply welcomed him to our sanctuary with open arms.

Prince is a hybrid, and interbred Spider Monkey of no specific genus.  He has a club foot, a wonky eye, hunched back and a stump tail.  Prince has some extremely warped mannerisms, but we have learnt to love this crazy man as he is – warts and all.

Prince hates people, including our staff.  He is unpredictable, agressive and will most likely bite you when you turn your back.  Prince hates camera’s and especially tripods with vengeance. He does not socialise well, not even with Tarzan and Jane, but occasionally you may find the 3 hanging out together. To Prince Charming freshly plucked mint is an aphrodisiac. There is some mint planted nearby The Special Monkey Home, and if you pluck a hand-full and give it to him he will roll it all over his body drooling and rubbing the scented plant where ever he can.

Geoffroy’s spider monkeys are listed as “Endangered” by the IUCN, mostly due to habitat loss. They require large tracts of primary forest to survive, and therefore they are vulnerable to deforestation and they are sometimes hunted by humans and captured for the pet trade. Because of their low reproductive turnover, they cannot quickly replenish their numbers when impacted by these events. As a result, Geoffroy’s spider monkey has disappeared from some areas where it was once common.

One area where Geoffroy’s spider monkey was eliminated was Barro Colorado Island in Panama. Hunting had eliminated the native population there by 1912. However, between 1959 and 1966 an effort was made to reintroduce the species to Barro Colorado. At least 18 monkeys were reintroduced but only five, one male and four females, survived the reintroduction. This small group has thrived, and the island population had grown to 28 monkeys by 2003.

MOZZIE – the 1-armed Black-and-White Ruffed Lemur

Latin name: Varecia variegata variegata

September 2010: Mozzie’s full name is Moskito.  He is named after Moskito Island – Sir Richard Branson’s lemur paradise in the Caribbean Islands. Lara went there to assist Branson with the 1st batch of lemurs that were being introduced to the island, and as a result named Mozzie was after the island.  Mozzie was found dangling from a twig in the forest, his right arm was broken in several places.  After several attempts to rescue the broken arm, our vet decided to amputate.  Unfortunately, there was simply no way in which his arm could be saved.

Mozzie was raise by Lara and Tony, and introduced to The Special Monkey Home when he was about 6 months old.  He is a well-adjusted happy young man and naturally very pleased about the new Ruffed Lemur addition (named Tiger) to his forested home. It is possible to introduce Tiger to the lemurs in The Monkeyland forest, but we feel that it is better for Mozzie to have a companion of his own specie in The Special Monkey Home.

Mozzie and Tiger are great friends who play, groom and cuddle eachother and ‘talk’ loudly. Black-and-white ruffed lemurs are in fact the second loudest primate, second only to the howler monkey (alouatta). That raucous barking you may hear whilst walking through the Monkeyland forest, or when you visit The Special Monkey Home,  is not a pack of bloodthirsty dogs, but our black and white ruffed lemurs merely saying hello!

Did you know? Black and White Ruffed Lemurs eat more fruit than any other Lemur. Mozzie in particular loves berries, banana and citrus.

LUNA – the ‘mother-less’ Douroucouli baby

Latin name: Aotus nigriceps

September 2011: Luna came to live with me when she was 3 weeks old because her mum misjudged the distance from one tree to another as she leapt through the forest. Sadly her mum died from her injuries and little Luna was in need of a foster mum (Lara).  We named this little monkey Luna (meaning moon) because of her nocturnal nature.

The genus name means “earless”; they have ears, of course, but the external ears are tiny and hard to see. Douroucoulis have big brown eyes and therefore have increased ability to be active at night. They are called night monkeys because all species are active at night and are in fact the only truly nocturnal monkeys in the World (an exception is the Douroucouli subspecies Aotus azarae azarae, which is cathemeral). Unusual among the New World monkeys, they are monochromats, that is, they have no colour vision, presumably because it is of no advantage given their nocturnal habits.

It is said that Douroucoulis oddly only mate during full moon.

BONES – the ‘premature injured’ Ringtail Lemur baby

Latin name: Lemur catta

October 2011: Bones arrived a few weeks after Luna.  She was premature, practically hairless and her little ear and face were injured.  We could smell the infection in her ear from a distance. We named her Bones because of her appearance – she was skin and bones. Bones had a broken jaw as a baby, and her jaw is off-centre as result.  Fortunately this does not affect her appetite.

Today, Bones is a lively youngster, mischievous, inquisitive and extremely swift. Male Ringtail lemurs are prone to infanticide, and we think that Bones was issued with a death bite by one of the Monkeyland males.  It remains a mystery; we are just happy that she is now happy and well.

Did you know? The species name, catta, refers to the Ringtailed lemur’s cat-like appearance. Its purring vocalization is very similar to that of the domestic cat.

TIGER – the ‘temporarily blinded’ Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur baby

Latin name: Varecia variegata variegata

October 2011: Most lemur species and all monkey and ape species carry their infants on their bellies or backs, but Ruffed lemurs are different.  Black-and-White Ruffed Lemurs build nests in trees when they have little ones.  They often build several nests and may choose to move their little ones from time to time. These Ruffed Lemur babies are often moved from one nest to another (newer one), and the mum’s move the babies around by picking them up in their mouths – like domestic cats do.

We assume that during such a nest-move Tiger fell out of his/her mum’s nest (this is speculation) and hit his/her head, this caused the little Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur to be temporarily blind.  Mum abandoned him and there the little baby was – helpless + dangling from a twig in a thorny tree.

Ranger Burt rescued little Tiger as he/she was frantically clung on to this twig of the tree.  The little lemur was naturally very frustrated due to the loss of his/her sight.  We took Tiger to the local optometrist who re-assured us that Tiger’s condition was temporary – the vet’s words were: “Give Tiger Time”.

Tiger was a very large baby, strong, boisterous, attention seeking and opinionated – even an little accidental and clumsy bully at times.  Ruffed lemurs are not so easy to sex as babies, and at first we just assumed that Tiger was a boy.  Tiger is in fact a very large girl.  What a surprise!

Did you know? Female Black-and-White Ruffed Lemur’s are the only primates to not only have six teats compared to the usual two or four but are able to have multiple births, anything up to six! Normally though she will give birth to two or three.

TARZAN + JANE – “every forest needs a Tarzan and Jane”

Latin name: Ateles geoffroyi

SEPTEMBER 1990: Tarzan and Jane came to live at Monkeyland shortly after we opened to the public. tarzan and Jane came from a petting farm and were fed incorrect foods for most of their lives. Not much is known about their history, but they were about 9 or 10 years of age when they came to live here at Monkeyland. Jane has never liked crowds, she abhors being photographed, and she has a peculiar love-hate relationship with wheelchairs, push-chairs – basically anything on wheels. Jane is also a compulsive groomer, and glutton. We moved Jane to The Special Monkey Home so that we could have better control over her food intake and self-mutilation habit. Visitors to Monkeyland wander amongst the free-roaming primates, but visitors to The Special Monkey Home are no allowed to walk amongst the inhabitants. The Special Monkey Home primates can only be viewed from the outside of their forested enclosure. If they come up to the fence-line you can see them, but if they don’t – that’s also ok. Tarzan is Jane’s companion. As mentioned, we are not sure what their history is, but it is easy to see that it was not a life you will dream about or get nostalgic of.

Tarzan has a terrible oral abscess when he arrived at Monkeyland. It was so bad that he’s gums actually bled when he ate food types firmer than a banana. An apple as example would make his gums bleed. Tarzan had emergency dental work performed on him during 1990, and shortly after he had a piece of his tongue removed because of skin cancer.

Tarzan appears obese, but this is not due to over-eating, it is in fact a non-malignant growth in his tummy. We moved Tarzan to the Special Monkey Home so that Jane could have an companion, and so that we could control his food intake and ensure that no extra pressure (fat) is placed on the growth. If unnecessary pressure is placed on his internal organs, it could be fatal.

Tarzan is well loved by our visitors because he has such a unique character – he drools constantly, likes his hair brushed forward (with his fingers) in a certain way, hitches rides on the back of The Special Monkey Home tortoises, pouts and struts about as if he is the sexiest primate you will ever lay your eyes on.

Like Jane, Tarzan does not like objects with wheels, and when he is upset or frustrated he make full use of his prehensile tail by picking up objects with it and flinging them around. Jane generally follows suit.

Although Spider Monkeys do not use tools, spider monkeys are regarded as intelligent primates. A study performed in 2007 concluded that spider monkeys were the third most intelligent non-human primate, behind only orang-utans and chimpanzees, and ahead of gorillas and all other monkeys.

PRINCE CHARMING – the ‘not-so-charming’ Spider Monkey

Latin name: Ateles geoffroyi

June 2005: Prince was sent to live with us after being rescued by an organisation in Israel from a horrid past. As usual we did not ask many questions, we simply welcomed him to our sanctuary with open arms.

Prince is a hybrid, and interbred Spider Monkey of no specific genus. He has a club foot, a wonky eye, hunched back and a stump tail. Prince has some extremely warped mannerisms, but we have learnt to love this crazy man as he is – warts and all.

Prince hates people, including our staff. He is unpredictable, agressive and will most likely bite you when you turn your back. Prince hates camera’s and especially tripods with vengeance. He does not socialise well, not even with Tarzan and Jane, but occasionally you may find the 3 hanging out together. To Prince Charming freshly plucked mint is an aphrodisiac. There is some mint planted nearby The Special Monkey Home, and if you pluck a hand-full and give it to him he will roll it all over his body drooling and rubbing the scented plant where ever he can.

Geoffroy’s spider monkeys are listed as “Endangered” by the IUCN, mostly due to habitat loss. They require large tracts of primary forest to survive, and therefore they are vulnerable to deforestation and they are sometimes hunted by humans and captured for the pet trade. Because of their low reproductive turnover, they cannot quickly replenish their numbers when impacted by these events. As a result, Geoffroy’s spider monkey has disappeared from some areas where it was once common.

One area where Geoffroy’s spider monkey was eliminated was Barro Colorado Island in Panama. Hunting had eliminated the native population there by 1912. However, between 1959 and 1966 an effort was made to reintroduce the species to Barro Colorado. At least 18 monkeys were reintroduced but only five, one male and four females, survived the reintroduction. This small group has thrived, and the island population had grown to 28 monkeys by 2003.

MOZZIE – the 1-armed Black-and-White Ruffed Lemur

Latin name: Varecia variegata variegata

September 2010: Mozzie’s full name is Moskito. He is named after Moskito Island – Sir Richard Branson’s lemur paradise in the Caribbean Islands. Lara went there to assist Branson with the 1st batch of lemurs that were being introduced to the island, and as a result named Mozzie was after the island. Mozzie was found dangling from a twig in the forest, his right arm was broken in several places. After several attempts to rescue the broken arm, our vet decided to amputate. Unfortunately, there was simply no way in which his arm could be saved.

Mozzie was raise by Lara and Tony, and introduced to The Special Monkey Home when he was about 6 months old. He is a well-adjusted happy young man and naturally very pleased about the new Ruffed Lemur addition (named Tiger) to his forested home. It is possible to introduce Tiger to the lemurs in The Monkeyland forest, but we feel that it is better for Mozzie to have a companion of his own specie in The Special Monkey Home.

Mozzie and Tiger are great friends who play, groom and cuddle eachother and ‘talk’ loudly. Black-and-white ruffed lemurs are in fact the second loudest primate, second only to the howler monkey (alouatta). That raucous barking you may hear whilst walking through the Monkeyland forest, or when you visit The Special Monkey Home, is not a pack of bloodthirsty dogs, but our black and white ruffed lemurs merely saying hello!

Did you know? Black and White Ruffed Lemurs eat more fruit than any other Lemur. Mozzie in particular loves berries, banana and citrus.

LUNA – the ‘mother-less’ Douroucouli baby

Latin name: Aotus nigriceps

September 2011: Luna came to live with me when she was 3 weeks old because her mum misjudged the distance from one tree to another as she leapt through the forest. Sadly her mum died from her injuries and little Luna was in need of a foster mum (Lara). We named this little monkey Luna (meaning moon) because of her nocturnal nature.

The genus name means “earless”; they have ears, of course, but the external ears are tiny and hard to see. Douroucoulis have big brown eyes and therefore have increased ability to be active at night. They are called night monkeys because all species are active at night and are in fact the only truly nocturnal monkeys in the World (an exception is the Douroucouli subspecies Aotus azarae azarae, which is cathemeral). Unusual among the New World monkeys, they are monochromats, that is, they have no colour vision, presumably because it is of no advantage given their nocturnal habits.

It is said that Douroucoulis oddly only mate during full moon.

BONES – the ‘premature injured’ Ringtail Lemur baby

Latin name: Lemur catta

October 2011: Bones arrived a few weeks after Luna. She was premature, practically hairless and her little ear and face were injured. We could smell the infection in her ear from a distance. We named her Bones because of her appearance – she was skin and bones. Bones had a broken jaw as a baby, and her jaw is off-centre as result. Fortunately this does not affect her appetite.

Today, Bones is a lively youngster, mischievous, inquisitive and extremely swift. Male Ringtail lemurs are prone to infanticide, and we think that Bones was issued with a death bite by one of the Monkeyland males. It remains a mystery; we are just happy that she is now happy and well.

Did you know? The species name, catta, refers to the Ringtailed lemur’s cat-like appearance. Its purring vocalization is very similar to that of the domestic cat.

TIGER – the ‘temporarily blinded’ Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur baby

Latin name: Varecia variegata variegata

October 2011: Most lemur species and all monkey and ape species carry their infants on their bellies or backs, but Ruffed lemurs are different. Black-and-White Ruffed Lemurs build nests in trees when they have little ones. They often build several nests and may choose to move their little ones from time to time. These Ruffed Lemur babies are often moved from one nest to another (newer one), and the mum’s move the babies around by picking them up in their mouths – like domestic cats do.

We assume that during such a nest-move Tiger fell out of his/her mum’s nest (this is speculation) and hit his/her head, this caused the little Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur to be temporarily blind. Mum abandoned him and there the little baby was – helpless + dangling from a twig in a thorny tree.

Ranger Burt rescued little Tiger as he/she was frantically clung on to this twig of the tree. The little lemur was naturally very frustrated due to the loss of his/her sight. We took Tiger to the local optometrist who re-assured us that Tiger’s condition was temporary – the vet’s words were: “Give Tiger Time”.

Tiger was a very large baby, strong, boisterous, attention seeking and opinionated – even an little accidental and clumsy bully at times. Ruffed lemurs are not so easy to sex as babies, and at first we just assumed that Tiger was a boy. Tiger is in fact a very large girl. What a surprise!

Did you know? Female Black-and-White Ruffed Lemur’s are the only primates to not only have six teats compared to the usual two or four but are able to have multiple births, anything up to six! Normally though she will give birth to two or three.

Lara at Durban’s Indaba 2012