Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Velvet Monkeys

I apologize to those who might be offended by the explicit nature of this image, but I felt obliged, after my post on a female monkey, to introduce some gender balance on my blog, specifically on monkeys.
The institution at Usa River near Arusha where I attended a short course a few years ago was frequently visited by a group of monkeys from the surrounding forest.

At the end of lectures one afternoon, I witnessed some of the course participants, intrigued by the presence of the monkeys, cautiously attempting to approach the primates but each time they got close the monkeys moved away to a safe distance.

In contrast, when one of the resident tutors passed near the monkeys, the monkeys did not move away. A Zambian in my course predicted the monkey's reaction as the tutor, a white European, approached and walked past the monkeys.

Having some experience with monkeys at Butiama, I argued that monkeys appear to recognize familiar faces and attach some character - hostile or friendly - to those faces. When I took regular walks, I came across groups of monkeys that were not particularly alarmed by my appearance but maintained large distances with other human beings.

I believe they kept the distance for a good reason. Monkeys are notorious for stealing crops and many people around Butiama have to chase away monkeys trying to steal farm produce. I have not chased a monkey save for that rare occasion when someone left the door open and one of the monkeys got too close to my breakfast.

If it is not obvious, this specimen is a male velvet monkey. I think I now understand where the 'velvet' originated from.

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1 comment:

Alli said...

I recall when on Safari in Ngorongoro National Park... Woke up one morning (when camping was still allowed in the crater) sauntered over to the washroom and began to talk with a nice couple from New Zealand.. Of course I was decked out in a crisp white shirt, my khaki safari pants, you could have mistaken me for a younger Lana Turner making a movie in the "wilds" of Africa.... Monkeys are very curious creatures and will come out in droves sit and observe. But of course there is always a comedian in the group!! I am standing talking looking very cool when suddenly I felt something on the top of my head... Plop again only this time down the front of my shirt!! Of course I smiled sweetly, but very annoyed!! The one monkey who sat there looking and chattering decided at that moment to use my head and shirt as a toilet!! Some others may have been angry..... ME? I roared hysterically with laughter... How could you not? being ever so kool in the morning and then this!!
I love monkey stories..... Have a few myself! ~Alicia.....