Many conservationists have nature documentaries to thank for their interest in the natural world, and this is certainly true for 6-week volunteer, Amelia. Whilst at the Manu Learning Center (MLC) she has turned her passion for monkeys into knowledge that would serve her well in a specialist round of Mastermind.
This jungle story starts rather differently to most. Approximately 5:30pm, Tuesday night, mid-December 2016. My mum and I are sat on the sofa watching telly.
‘Monkey Life’ comes on – rescued monkeys unable to be returned to the wild are living together at a sanctuary in Dorset, England. Cue my monkey mania – think adoption, obsession and general addiction to all things ‘monkey’.
Cue my monkey mania – think adoption, obsession and general addiction to all things ‘monkey’.
Fast forward 4 months to MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: see monkeys in the wild. So far it looks like this:
Day 1: Arrive at Manu Learning Centre, Manu, Peru, Western Amazon.
Day 2: Spot titi monkeys, wooly monkeys, spider monkeys and brown capuchins.
Day 9: See squirrel monkeys cross the trail.
Day 16: Saddle back tamarinds climb past whilst we’re snacking in the jungle.
But if you’re wondering why would I travel halfway around the world for some monkeys then grab a mug, lean a little closer and prepare to become a monkvert (a monkey convert) with some facts about our primate cousins living in the MLC jungle.
Fun fact: These squirrel monkeys are known to spread urine on their hands and feet, marking the trail through the tree tops for other monkeys in their group to follow.
Fun fact: Night monkeys are monogamous with many of them having the same partner for their whole lives.
Fun fact: Male Bolivian red howler monkeys are known to kill young offspring after taking over a new group of females so that they are ready to mate again more quickly (okay, this one’s not exactly ‘fun’ but it’s definitely interesting!)
Fun fact: Wooly monkeys have prehensile tails, which means that can use them like a limb
Fun fact: These Olympic-worthy monkeys can jump as far as 9 metres
So now you are a monkvert, go and see them in the wild too, protect them and their habitats and impress your mates on your next road trip with all your fun facts about monkeys. Alternatively, come on over to South America and become a jungle girl too.