Wildtracks: Conservation, Research and Education

Wildtracks blog

Uncle John and Pippa


Hailing from England originally, though now residing in Spain, John is affectionately referred to as "Uncle John" by all. He is cheerful, hardworking and an avid computer hater… hence why this post, though about him, is not authored by him. John has been here at Wildtracks for 4 months and for the last three months has been the primary caretaker of Pippa.

Pippa is an 8 year old Geoffrey's spider monkey. Small for a spider monkey, she has the surprising feature of blue eyes, something relatively rare. Confiscated from a Belizean man living in a nearby town, she had been kept on a leash for most of her life, leading her to be severely socially underdeveloped. As a general rule, all of the adult spider monkeys at Wildtracks have minimal human contact, increasing their interactions, and reliance on, each other. Because of her limited social experience from years of being alone, this does not apply to Pippa. Before she can begin being integrated with the other spiders, she has to first learn basic social skills. This is John's job. Twice a day, John enters Pippa's enclosure to provide some social interaction, which includes a lot of grooming (something that Pippa enjoys, but still hasn't quite grasped how to do!). Often times, most of the visit is spent with Pippa perched in John's lap, just enjoying having someone around. Upon arriving at Wildtracks, Pippa was nervous, anxious, eating poorly, and extremely lonely. Just how lonely was illustrated during the first month of interaction, when she often refused to let John leave the enclosure and had to be bribed off his shoulder with a delicious tidbit. It shows just how far we have come in that she now doesn't panic when it is time for him to leave.

The next step in Pippa's road to recovery is integration. Right beside her cage is that of Pancho & Teresa, a young male and older female that have already been integrated, Pippa is soon to join them. In the far cage, sharing a wall with Pancho & Teresa, are Mattie & Duma, the energetic pair you have already been introduced to. Eventually, all 5 monkeys will share an enclosure as a fully functioning troupe. This will be the first troupe of spider monkeys rehabilitated here at Wildtracks. We are currently awaiting information the history of spider monkeys in the Fireburn area to determine where their release location will be.

We look forward to sharing more about Pippa & the other spider monkeys progress in the upcoming weeks. Keep on reading to hear about them and the many other amazing animals we are working with here at Wildtracks!

Published by: Zoe Walker at 2013-03-04 12:37:06   [Link to this article]

Check out the latest articles in the blog!