Physical contact with other capuchin monkeys is essential for forming healthy social bonds. Social bonds in turn improve overall well-being. Most monkeys kept as pets fail to learn skills to interact with other monkeys. This leads to behavioural problems that make future reintroduction into the wild impossible.
We see the negative consequences of keeping monkeys as pets on a daily basis. However, we have developed a new socialization programme to slowly develop social bonds among our capuchins.
Our new system
We use a system of cages that connect using tunnels. Each tunnel has two small doors to separate the monkeys. Both doors are closed at first to maintain a safe distance between the two. We then observe how well neighboring capuchins get along. When we notice frequent visual contact, we open the first door. This allows the monkeys to make their first physical contact through spaces in the second door.
If the interactions between the two capuchins remain positive, we open the second door. This allows them to enjoy each other without any barrier. Our main objective is to recreate the life they would have in nature, and creating a stable social group is essential to doing so.
An early success story
This programme has enjoyed early success. We had never observed Newton or Sidum groom before. Now they spend time each day preening, playing, and generally enjoying time together. We have observed a marked improvement in each monkey’s wellbeing, particularly that of Sidum.
We look forward to improving the programme and witnessing more success stories like Newton and Sidum’s. To expand the programme, we will need to build and maintain new enclosures. Please consider supporting us to fund this extremely important project. Visit our Donate page today.
Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi (CIWY) is a Bolivian Non-Governmental Organisation engaged in protecting wildlife rescued from illegal trafficking and the conservation of ecosystems. Across its three wildlife sanctuaries, CIWY has cared for thousands of animals over the years, providing for them a better quality of life and a future in their natural habitat. CIWY has been in operation since 1992 and is today recognised internationally for its work in wildlife care and rehabilitation.
Part of the extended CIWY family are Friends of Inti Wara Yassi UK and Friends of Inti Wara Yassi Australia, two international nonprofits founded and run by former volunteers to facilitate fundraising and permit tax-deductible donations for British and Australian taxpayers.