Wildtracks: Conservation, Research and Education

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Working with non-releasable Nikki...by Stefanie


Nikki is a capuchin monkey with a lot of energy, and who loves to be around people. Capuchins are not thought to be present in Belize, their range extending to Guatemala and Honduras, and it is thought that she was smuggled across the border illegally. Nikki is currently the only capuchin monkey at Wildtracks - and the only one in Belize. She is also one of only two of the 59 monkeys to have come to Wildtracks for rehabilitation and release back into the wild, that will reside at Wildtracks permanently. Because it is unknown where Nikki is from, she will never be releasable, but will continue to live a safe and happy life with her Wildtracks family and be an asset in Wildtracks' efforts to educate people about monkeys.

At Wildtracks, there are very few monkeys that we volunteers can just hang out with, as most are being prepared for release, and can't become too attached to humans. Nikki, however, is different.

My daily routine with Nikki consisted of: feeding her milk and fresh fruit, filling her water bottle, cleaning her enclosure, and most importantly - loving her.

"Nikki Nik", as she is often called, has a blonde face and brown body and, in my opinion, is one of the cutest monkeys you will ever meet. And she has the personality to match! As you enter her enclosure, she immediately dives from the top of her cage onto the top of your head. I remember playing with her on the floor of her enclosure and watching her movements - so human-like! She is very generous - she would pull a weed from the dirt and eat it. Then she would pull another weed and shove it into my mouth! She knows she is funny.

Nikki is also a fan of bugs. She loves to catch them and eat them! Except for cockroaches; she hates cockroaches. One day she chased a bug around her enclosure until she caught it, only to realize it was a cockroach, and then quickly threw it to the ground and ran in the opposite direction! She is such a funny monkey. One of Nikki's favorite games to play is hide-and-seek. She hides in her hammock and pretends that I don't know she's there. I would come underneath the hammock and tickle her until she showed her face. She is just like a little child!

As she is so intelligent, and needs a lot of stimulus to stop her from becoming frustrated, we give Nikki enrichment toys to play with to occupy her time. She loves to play with buckets of water, although they don't last very long as she quickly discovers that she can dump the water out. She enjoys plastic balls that she can toss around her cage. But out of all her enrichment toys, she is the most fond of her human friends that come to play with her. She enjoys the time and the TLC that we show her more than anything!

I miss Nikki Nik and hope that I get to work (and most importantly, play) with her again soon!


Published by: Zoe Walker at 2014-01-14 23:27:28   [Link to this article]

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