Friday, October 10, 2008

Outdoors at Work

Photos courtesy of ONPRC. Public domain

The bulk of the center’s animals live in open-aired corrals or in shelter halves.

Most of our monkeys are Indian rhesus macaques—a much more mild and social animal than the Chinese rhesus that we had at CRL in Reno.

By in large, they spend their days doing what monkeys do best: foraging, fighting, breeding, grooming, and rearing small fuzzy children.

When I was still assisting the corral crew, I helped to walk the grounds and check on the health of the animals. Sometimes we would sit down quietly on a log once we were finished, and scatter peanuts or oats about us. Then we waited. Gradually, the bolder or friendlier monkeys moved in. After having decided that were minding our manners, they would sit down in close proximity and begin to enthusiastically pluck the scattered foodstuffs out of the tall grass.

Some of the animals approached us directly to see if we had anything more to give out, and they would accept treats from our hands. The older dominant females periodically grunted at us suspiciously, as if to remind us that they were in fact keeping their eyes on us. The dominant males generally ignored us. Since we were sitting and posing no threat, they could safely act like we were not there without any loss of face before the rest of their troop. One or two of the more aggressive ones moved as soon as we stood to leave. Grunting and barking they would follow us out, trying to drive us before them.

In some corrals, the head male would come up and gently pry our hands to open see if we are hiding any treats. The juvenile males, their tails raised at attention, liked to creep in as close to us as they dared in a test of bravery, before racing away to scamper up to safety at the top of the nearest play structure.

1 comment:

Ridgetop said...

You need to get a good DSLR with a decent telephoto. With time you could probably make a lot of money and become a monkey photo expert.