Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Day 1 in the Monkey Parque! 29 September 2009

Woke up at 6.30am. Pulled out the grottiest clothes in my bag and walked to the cafe for breakfast. At 7.25am I am told we don´t have to start till 8! We were supposed to start at 7.30am. The weather is drizzly so the monkeys don´t want to go out in the rain.

8am we walk up to the monkeys. The other monkey volunteers know that I am scared of monkeys and so I dont have to carry any food buckets up. Even without food bucket in tow I still get attacked by a Capuchin monkey. I was taken off guard and I scream. Everyone laughs and giggles. This was going to be a long day.

James and Nicholas my co-workers show me the ropes for serving breakfast and I get to grips with the routines. There are a few monkeys around but none are really bothering me, they are more concerned with food.

My first job is to clean the SPider MOnkey cages. The Spider Monkeys are caged at night because they have had to be rehabilitated into the wild, and there are worries that if they were left out at nihgt the really wild spider monkeys in the jungle would get them! I was instantly up to my knees in monkey poo as I had to get read of every little bit of poo by using a squeezy, a hose and a broom. I was glad that I had bought a piar of wellies for 50pence before starting work.

After an hour cleaning I was back up with the monkeys and getting used to them. The Monkey Park is the tourist area of the Park and so all the monkeys that hang out there are used to tourists and the volunteers and so like cuddles.

Today was particularly wet so i spent a lot of time cuddling spider monkeys to warm them up. 2 of them weed on me while cuddling which wasnñý particulalrly pleasant, but it did warm me up a bit as i got a bit cold.

There are two capuchin monkeys that we have on cords and runners, these two are slowly being introduced to the wild and to the social groups and are kept on cords and runners for their safety. They are called Abram and Felicida, they are lovley and by the end of the day I was used to having them crawl over me, into my jacket, inside my hood.

At one point in the day I had a Capuchin checking me for nits. Can´t say this was pleasant, she was definitely a bit rough, and I had BAD hair after, but I guess htat means they have accepted me.

I was dismissed for Dinner distribution duties today, they wanted to ease in the one who is scared of animals slowly, but instead I had to move Abram and Felicida, all very well, excpet there were 30 Russian toursits watching me intently as I did so. There i was, still a little nervy trying to coax down two capuchins to my shoulder so that I could move them. I had arms, legs and tails all over my head, and they were wet as well from the rain. URghhh!

So, in all, my first day has been fabulous. Getting weed on by a monkey is not particularly glam, but I loved it anyway. The monkeys are great and have so much character and personality. I am still not used to the jumpiness of the monkeys as you walk through the jungle they do like to jump on you from all angles, and this is definitely the scariest bit. Give me a few more days and the fear will be gone I hope and I will be talking monkey too!

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