Volunteering with Primates

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Volunteering with team primates is the last volunteer team from Tasikoki I’m going to talk about since it’s the one I worked the least on. I’m not too terribly sad about that though. 

I know the monkeys need a lot of help. Primate are the second most populated group at Tasikoki following just behind the birds, and there is a lot to do for them throughout the day. 

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Volunteering with primates

Personally I didn’t want to work on the team because I really didn’t care for the macaques. They were angry and aggressive. I can’t blame them considering what they have been through, but I just didn’t care to be around it. 

I know I know…..as somone who wants to help all animals, I should love them all, right?

Well you’re not going to like every human you meet, so why should you be held to like every animal?

Just because I didn’t like them doesn’t mean I don’t want to see them get help.

There were plenty of other volunteers who loved working with the primates. I would rather leave a space open for them, and offer myself up to a team I really enjoyed like the turtles or bears.

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Making Enrichments for Primates

Like all the animals at Tasikoki, the primates needed enrichments made for them every day. 

The mornings were spend looking for browse of all different kinds of leaves and grasses. Then we would bundle them up and place them near the enclosures for the macaques to eat.

After that we would go looking for black beans, seeds, sticks…basically anything that could be made into enrichments. 

Depending on what they had eaten earlier that day, we would either make sensory enrichments or food enrichments.

For sensory, we would use garlic or marmite to coat seedpods, leaves, or twigs and place them near the enclosures for the monkeys to smell.

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Food enrichments would usually consist of a mix of fruit, seeds, and nuts. The mix might be stuffed into small pieces of bamboo or frozen in black bean pods. Anything really that would require the primates to work a little before getting their treat.

Kinda like the orangutans, but, not to sound mean, primates are far less intelligent than the orangutans.

After all the enrichments were handed out, we would gather up any left over browse to divvy up before heading back to the volunteer house.

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Truth About Macaques

Macaques are extremely endangered!

Like most animals around the world, their habitat is being destroyed at an alarming rate. On top of that, they are poached out of the wild in high numbers. 

Natives will kill them for bush meat, and tourist attractions will use them in their shows and exhibits.

Have you ever been approached by a man with a monkey offering to let you take a picture with his pet primate for a few bucks? Well that monkey was more than likely a long tailed macaque or gibbon.

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Are they adorable? Yes. Is it tempting? Sure, but think about that monkey for just a second. It shouldn’t be tethered to a human and forced to take pictures with random strangers. 

Paying to take that picture or attending a show is only promoting more people to capture their own monkeys for an attraction.

Really that goes for any kind of animal. If you see someone with an exotic “pet” offering to take pictures or making the animal perform, they probably got that “pet” from the illegal wildlife trade, so it’s best just to avoid them and visit a sanctuary instead.  

I Kinda Miss the Monkeys

Even though I really didn’t care for the primates, I do miss them…..just a little.

I loved hearing their calls echo through the center. When I first heard the chirps of the macaques, it made me think about almost every jungle movie I have ever seen. Had I brought my recorder I could have captured the perfect Hollywood soundbite.

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Besides the macaques, there is one primate in general I miss hearing.

Her name is Betty, and she is one of the 4 gibbons at Tasikoki. She would sound off multiple times throughout the day, and I loved hearing it every time.

Her call would start out as a low whoop and then escalate almost to a high pitched scream. I don’t know what she was trying to tell us, but she definitely wanted her presence to be known to all.

I don’t know… now that I have been away from them for a while I am realizing that I liked the primates more than I thought…….maybe.

 

If you would like to help Tasikoki take care of their primates, you can find more info on how to sign up to volunteer or make a donation on their website.

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