Monkeys Outwit Humans

8th December 2013

Nora Grooming Kia
Nora Grooming Kia
The two new female monkeys have settled in pretty well, although neither can yet be handled by the staff. Lavender has been moved in with Tilly, Ruby and Dennis and is very much at home with them, although she still shuns too much human contact.

Kia is sharing with Nora, who was on her own, and although they are different species, Nora seems to think she is her long lost daughter and insists on mothering her. Kia loves the attention of course. Even though she sees Nora swimming happily in the pool, she still hasn't been in for more than a paddle herself and is wary of what is undoubtedly the largest expanse of water she has ever seen. She doesn't seem to have any interest in our two rhesus macaques, Katrina and Kirsty, and they have scorned any contact with her to date.

There is no doubt that Kia is very bright, the Rhesus are much sharper than the bonnet Macaques on the whole. They live as street monkeys, and have to use there wits in order to survive, the bonnets are still generally forest monkeys, with relatively fewer daily dangers to cope with.

Bunty Caught In The Trap
Bunty Caught In The Trap
She didn't miss a trick when slipping past a member of staff and out to freedom the other day. There is no danger that she would 'run away' as she knows this is home now, and she wouldn't go far from Nora anyway. The only problem is the damage done by even one fearless monkey to everything that is grabbed from everywhere. The first rush around was to find and hide such things as the mobile phones, wallets, glasses and other expensive to replace items. She was smart enough to stay 2 inches away from being caught for about half an hour, having fun eating biros and smashing mugs and so on.

Patience wearing thin, the dog trap was set to lure her in with lots of grapes and bananas. As soon as this was set and ready, John in fact managed to successfully grab her on one quick pass and she was back on her lead. Some time later I went to put away the dog trap and found it had been successful, Bunty was caught!

Dennis with Tilly
Dennis with Tilly
One member of staff and a volunteer got some minor, but painful bites from the usually docile Tilly this week. Dennis and Tilly were being taken for a walk when Dennis got himself tied up in the branches and called for help. Both the volunteer and staff member rushed to untangle him. Hearing Dennis in trouble Tilly automatically turned into the protective parent and bit and chased off his rescuers. Until she was moved well away Dennis couldn't be helped, the message was clear, upset or touch Dennis and you'll get it! She understood that Dennis was in trouble, but not that they were trying to help. When walking monkeys, you have to think like a monkey, and when Tilly's thinking was explained to them, they understood it was all their fault anyway.

Giant Hornbill
Giant Hornbill
The giant hornbills have returned from where ever they go in the monsoon, and they went straight back to the nest box and stuck there heads in to inspect it. This they have done for the last three years, so I am not holding my breath that they will actually use it this year either.

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