Wow! Even the first and second days here with Fauna Forever have been awesome. Wake up at 6:30am and on the road to the Amazon Animal Shelter by 7:30am. It wasn’t too far, but cool just to see the jungle as we drove by. I’ll have to get some pictures of the crazy dirt roads here with tons of potholes and everything. And yet they get by really well. I’m impressed with the driving. I’m pretty positive I would get stuck every 5 minutes if I drove here.
When we got to the shelter we were immediately shown all the animals there. Unfortunately the two workers only spoke a little English (enough to get by and with Ian speaking Spanish he could translate) so I didn’t ask them too many questions of the origins of each of the animals. They have quite a few Red Howler Monkeys which we actually got to interact with quite a bit. One pretty young one, Miguel was his name, actually sat on Ian and I’s shoulders and generally was adorable. It was fantastic to have such an up close and intimate encounter with such an amazing creature. I have always loved monkeys, but I think here I will love them even more. Just to see his face, feel his hands, and his skin was really special. Some of the bigger ones were a bit more, spastic should we say jumping around and biting the net which were a bit more intimidating, but overall they were neat.
The first day Miguel seemed to prefer Ian and kept going back to him and tried to burrow in his collar. It was very cute. I got to take a lot of photos and really get a good look at him. The second day however, I was the clear favorite and Miguel mostly just slept on me and cuddled. It was incredibly endearing and we got some pretty adorable photos. They are all on Ian’s camera so I will try to get those to you soon.
We also fed and cleaned up after a pair of white-billed Toucans which were just gorgeous. Bright blue skin around their eyes is fantastic. Then there was a Red Brocket Deer which reminded me both of a white-tailed deer and also a mouse (probably because of the ears).
Another favorite of mine was the Night Monkey which had such big eyes with such an expressive face. He gets fed (appropriately) at night so we just say him in his enclosure which was neat. The other one I liked was Allan, a baby peccary (piglet fans watch out) who was absolutely adorable. The two big guys in the enclosure next to him were pretty cool too, though they got a little pushy when I went in the enclosure.
Some of the Red Howler monkeys were free to roam about the property which was also cool to see. They were bigger. One actually followed us through the forest for a while which was rather bizarre and almost intimidating to have a monkey just follow you maybe 2 feet behind. The young woman who was showing us around said choice words to him a few times. In response he would kind of curl up sullenly which was kind of amusing to see.
There was also a few macaws around which are always gorgeous. Oh and a saddleback tamarin which was absolutely adorable, and incredibly fast.
The day was pretty great. Chopped the food, fed, replaced water, cleaned up food on the ground/droppings, took away the food plates, and that’s about it. I would like to see the more veterinary side of things, but I am very happy with just what I got to experience.
Also the second day I painted signs while the boys replaced boards in the fences around the enclosures. I was a little offended at first because they put the only woman in charge of painting (though initially we did have to saw a board in half). But then I decided rather than to be unhappy about it to just be grateful I didn’t have to hammer. Instead I just painted and sometimes attempted to communicate with the Spanish speaking workers or at least learn some colors. Overall it was a really great two days!