Monday, January 18, 2010

I *did* see a tapir!

Well, I had an exciting and fun filled blog entry planned – news like “I saw a tapir,” “we’ve almost trapped another group,” and “On my day off, I watched capuchins mating and a lounging spider monkey and slept until 5:30” and so on and so forth, but it disappeared last night in a fit of absolute craziness.

Today was our first day of following independently – Karina, Kat, and I went off on our own to follow FC. In preparation for this, Mini called a lab meeting and we all sat down to discuss her expectations for us. Suddenly Emeterio and Marcos walked in with some small squeaky thing on Emeterio’s hand. “Está un mono!” Emeterio said – it’s a monkey! Our initial thought was that it was one of the twins, but then Mini realized it was an owl monkey infant. Owl monkeys are really cool – they’re the only nocturnal South American monkey. They’re really lovely, and we hear them foraging outside of our cabin all night.

This guy, however – not so lovely. Apparently Emeterio had found it squeaking on the trail that runs past our cabin, and brought him up for Mini to do something with. He had a big chunk of skin missing from his stomach, a broken and scraped up knee, a tail broken in three places, and perhaps a ruptured trachea. He also had a bad cut on the top of his thigh, right under his tail. We originally thought he was bleeding from the rectum, so this was certainly an improvement – but then it turned out the cut had maggots in it. Mini, Gideon, and Kat were performing most of the medical things – I was holding my headlamp for them as the power was about to go out. Then we discovered that the maggots were attracted to the light. They pulled 8 or 9 maggots out of the poor little guy. They splinted up his tail, put some steri-strip on his stomach with antibiotics, injected some local anesthetic into his side, and got him wrapped up in warm blankets. It turns out he needs to have his tail amputated, and he’ll probably never end up with a fully functioning knee. However, there’s an animal rescue/rehab facility in Puerto Maldonado, or he may stay at CICRA. Of course, this is in the event that he survives. We’ve been feeding him warm milk with sugar syrup every two hours and he’s drinking it. I took care of him for a portion of this afternoon and he burrowed into my hair until I got him back in his towel where he was burrowed. I hope he makes it!

OK. I’ve had a long and exhausting day of following monkeys through bamboo and vines and such, and tomorrow we’re being observed by Mini and Gideon as we follow monkeys through bamboo and vines. Should be interesting …


  1. Good luck to your monkey friend!

  2. I hope the poor baby monkey recovers with your help (that's a global "your"). You must be enjoying the jungle temperatures more than we are in New Hampshire-we've got snow on top of snow on top of snow. But it is pretty.
    I bet you never pictured yourself de-maggoting a baby monkey!
    Love you!