Wildtracks: Conservation, Research and Education

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Rikki 'n Mel - My Girls! - A contribution from Matt, our awesome rehab manager


Watching these two beautiful Spider monkeys grow and develop a relationship during their integrating with each other has been a pleasure to say the least. Remembering my first encounter with both, they were extremely different. Rikki was slow to recognise me at all whilst Mel was the opposite. In fact Mel would wrap her tail around me through the mesh of her enclosure if I stood near, and refuse to release me... not that l complained too much.

To think that when the integration phase began, Rikki had never known another of her species, until now at the age of 19. Even though Rikki was a tough cookie to crack she really couldn't resist the charm of the amazingly contagious Mel. With Mel's energy levels being quite high things can still be a little over whelming for Rikki at times. With Mel just 3 years of age, l'm sure she will learn quickly from her mistakes when occasionally pushing Rikki too far, testing her patience. A slow and steady integration is helping them to find the right balance for Mel's play times...

Over the past weeks these two have become the closest of friends. Observing this whilst they swing from one part of their enclosure to the next, showing off their speed and agility to one another, is a treat. The growing affection witnessed between these two is totally priceless. Sitting on a perch with their gangly limbs wrapped tightly around one another, their tails snaking around any body part they can grip. Grooming one another with their long thin fingers, searching through healthy coats of ginger and back hair. All the while talking to one another with the cutest of squeaks and chatters...

Rikki and Mel absolutely thrive on the company and affection of one another. I really hope it won’t be too long until we have the facilities to integrate them into a larger troop where they can continue to form friendships. It sure will be an amazing thing to see these guys swinging freely through the canopy of Belize's jungles as life intended them to.


Published by: Zoe Walker at 2013-12-22 10:34:58   [Link to this article]

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