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Wildtracks: Conservation, Research and Education

Wildtracks blog


Enter Rikky - a surprise addition from San Pedro

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Hello readers of the Wildtracks blog! My name is Brittany and I’m a volunteer from the US. I have been at Wildtracks for two months now and I’m writing this blog to introduce you to one of our newest arrivals, Rikky the spider monkey.

Almost everything about Rikky’s arrival was a surprise, starting with the arrival itself. Paul and Zoe received a call on May 14th saying that an adult male spider monkey had just been confiscated from a home in San Pedro and was on its way to Sarteneja via the 4:30 water taxi. When Rikky disembarked from the water taxi that afternoon we were met with our second surprise: our new adult male spider monkey was a female. After that revelation, Paul brought her into her new enclosure while I huddled with a group of volunteers a short distance away trying to get a glimpse of the new monkey. We gasped as she stepped out of the carry cage and had a look around - she was tall, surprisingly tall. Not only was Rikky tall but she was also on the thin side. The combination of Rikky’s height and skinny limbs make her look a great deal like the arachnid she is named after.

Later that night I was assigned to be Rikky’s carer and I began working with her closely the next morning. She was obviously well loved by her previous owners because she’s a very social monkey and loves attention. Rikky and I have a unique dynamic, while most carers and their monkeys have a sort of parent and child relationship that doesn’t really work for us because Rikky is older than me! That’s right folks, we’ve found out that Rikky is 19 years old- and I’m only 18. As a result, I often feel like she treats me as though she’s my care taker, not the other way around. Rikky grooms my hair, gives me hugs, has heart felt conversations with me that consist of a series of chirps and chuckles, and always manages to make me smile. Rikky is getting quite confident in her enclosure and, while she has always been a cheerful monkey, she seems to get happier and happier every day. She spends most of her time swinging around her cage and chatting animatedly with her neighbour, Nikki the capuchin monkey. I spend a great deal of my time with her trying to get her to eat bananas. Bananas are more nutrient dense than other fruits like papaya or melons that are mostly water, but it is difficult to explain that to a monkey. Her favourite foods are cantaloupe and mango and she has a habit of filling up on these and leaving the bananas to go brown in her bowl. I can often be seen outside her cage trying to get her to eat some banana by pretending to eat (and enjoy immensely) the chunks of the fruit, so that she will see how delicious they are. I’ve recently discovered that Rikky likes green bananas more than softer yellow ones, and now I can get her to finish her bowl most of the time.

For the first 30 days following arrival at Wildtracks, monkeys are in quarantine to make sure they don’t have any illnesses. They are then introduced to other monkeys of the same species. Since Rikky is still in quarantine, plans for her future are unsure but she isn’t in any hurry, she is perfectly content to sit in her hammock eating her green bananas and “talking” to anybody who happens to walk past her cage.

I look forward to watching her progress through the rehabilitation process and I will keep you updated on this fantastic monkey!

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Published by: Zoe Walker at 2013-06-06 08:41:50   [Link to this article]


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