"" Writer's Wanderings: Safari to Monkey Jungle

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Safari to Monkey Jungle

A couple of years ago we took our youngest Florida grandchild to Monkey Jungle near Miami. It impressed her enough then that she wanted return for her special day out with Grandma and Grandpa. I think she had just as much fun or more this time since she knew what to expect.

When we arrived we heard a whole lot of noise going on. I'm pretty sure it was howler monkeys and I'm guessing it may have had to do with feeding time. At one point they sounded like emergency sirens going off. They quieted down after a while thank goodness.

 We bought three small boxes of raisins and craisins to feed to the monkeys--probably the highlight of the morning. There are little tins attached to small link chains that lead up to the caged walkway that visitors are confined to. The monkeys crawl up to the top of the screen and when you put the fruit in the tin, the monkey pulls it up, stuffs it in his mouth and lets it drop down again for a refill. Of course there is a pecking order and we watched one larger monkey chase off some of the smaller ones to get his fill of fruit.

We were disappointed to see that Mae, the orangutan we'd seen on our first visit was no longer there. I was afraid to ask anyone in front of our granddaughter but I think she may have been past her life span when we saw her and she's since passed on.

The other featured primate is King, a silver back gorilla, who is still there but getting old. He is 50 now and  already living past a usual life expectancy. Since he is in captivity he is receiving great health care. King was rescued from a circus where he was not receiving the best care. The Monkey Jungle facility tried to introduce him to a female gorilla but because the circus had pulled his front teeth, the female deemed him unacceptable because he would not be able to protect her or their young--something that would be necessary in the wild so it was a natural response.

King is quite a character. He has learned to tap his shoulder when he is willing and ready to respond to a learned behavior. He prefers his treats to be tossed to him in a paper bag because he doesn't like it to get dirty. The attendant leading the encounter had a good arm to get it across the gully between King's habitat and the audience. She tossed him a fruity or veggie treat each time he showed us how he stands, walks with knuckles, shows his silver back, etc. And each time he turned his back, glancing over his shoulder on occasion to be sure the green iguana wasn't sneaking up to steal his food, as he ate it.

Birds and several species of monkeys including the cute little squirrel monkeys are scattered around the tropical jungle area that is growing back again after getting ravaged by Hurricane Irma. The Jungle was closed for nine months last year to repair and recover. I posted once before a little more history about the place when we first visited. Click here to learn more.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...