Inti Wara Yassi - Monkey Love

Published: August 6th 2008
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Hanging AroundHanging AroundHanging Around

A wild spider monkey
It is not easy to know where to start with an adventure like this. To begin with this entry will cover a period of almost 4 weeks, so thats a lot to cram in! Please accept our apologies for the length, there is just so much to tell.

Before we left we both discussed our desire to volunteer with animals or children in every country we were to visit if it was possible. Unfortunately we soon realised that the reality is "volunteering" is big business and often costs a lot to get involved with. It is also not easy to offer the time and commitment often necessary because of course we are travelling and have to keep moving, lest we fall behind and not manage to achieve all we set out to, a pit fall already in effect.

Upon our arrival in Bolivia we heard about a wildlife sanctuary called Inti Wara Yassi, or Sun Moon Stars in Qechua, Aymara and Guarani, native languages spoken in Bolivia. We checked out the website and also read some blogs about this non government organisation and we soon agreed that it was something we would love to get involved with. It was
Turtle Power!Turtle Power!Turtle Power!

Michaelangelo, Donatello, Raphael and Leonardo?
in the city of Sucre that we made our final decision to travel to Inti Wara Yassi. Here we managed to meet our two friends Tom and Carolyn who we had hung out with so long ago in Paraty, Brasil. It is a small world is it not and it was fantastic to see our friends again. It turned out that they were also heading to Inti Wara Yassi and so we all wound up in the bustling market city of Cochabamba. Cochabamba is big, dirty and noisy. The Markets are lively and large so we spent some time wondering around them admiring the hard working locals and all the produce and merchandise available of every kind. But it was soon onwards with a 4 hour journey over the mountains and back down again to Villa Tunari, the small sleepy and relaxed jungle village which sits across the river Chapare from Park Machia and Inti Wara Yassi. The only way between the two is the bridge we affectionately called "death bridge" by the end of our stay.

We checked into a hostel and made our way over the bridge which proudly displays the sign "Peligro" or Danger! It is

A squirrel monkey stands still for a split second!
not built for pedestrians and you are buffeted by the turbulence of passing trucks and cars that race across making all our many journeys over this bridge less than pleasant. Even so we arrived at the open doors of Inti Wara Yassi pledging our service for 2 weeks, which is the minimum stay for any volunteer. In actual fact we ended up staying for 3 weeks because we loved it so much! There was no hanging around, at 5pm we were taken on a guided tour of the sanctuary and the park, and following this we were swiftly sat down for a meeting which had been scheduled for all the volunteers that evening at 6pm. This involved about 60 volunteers crowded around some tables swishing beer after a hard day at work and chattering happily amongst themselves. It turned out the park founder Juan Carlos was here to speak with everyone about a new project being started high on the Altiplano to care for the animals of that area. There were many folk from the village involved and many speeches were given. It was an induction of fire, the passion of the volunteers and the locals involved shone through and

The baby Puma takes a stroll
none more so than with Juan Carlos. It was only after this meeting that we were taken off to our own private gathering of new volunteers who had arrived that day, here the accommodation was organised and the jobs allocated.

Some jobs require longer than others owing to their complexity and nature, for instance in order to work with the big cats you must commit for a month or more, this is so the cats get accustomed to you and vice versa. Unfortunately we had arrived at the same time as 7 other volunteers, which is very rare so we had competition for the jobs on offer. It was quite awkward trying to voice your interest in a job while not wanting to appear selfish!

But in the end we were both happy as Karen got her first choice job and Tony would have been pleased with any of the jobs he was offered. Karen was the new monkey mum looking after 6 baby Capuchins and Tony got a job in the busy clinic. And that was that really, our minds were racing with the pace of our first day and the hustle and bustle of the place. Being new and not clued up on everything felt awkward at first, but this did not last long as we got to know everyone and we were made to feel welcome in the coming days and weeks.

To briefly explain the nature of the organisation the gist of it is that Inti Wara Yassi was founded by Juan Carlos Antezana in 1992. The organization aided poor or orphaned children and their families and helped them to support themselves. One aspect of this was educational trips around Bolivia, it was on one of these trips that the plight of many animals came to their attention and Juan Carlos and the children decided to found a wildlife sanctuary on the grounds of Parque Machía, near the village of Villa Tunari, to house and rehabilitate wild animals. The animals are either victims of cruel pet ownership, circus or zoo treatment, or were tourist attractions in hotels and on street corners. The sanctuary also takes in injured wild animals as well, and treats the locals pets for free!

The sanctuary works side by side with Park Machia which is basically a tourist attraction that aims to educate visitors and allows them to see and interact with some of the wildlife present here in the jungle. The sanctuary runs this park in co-operation with the village. However the sanctuary it is not funded by the government and depends almost entirely on the work of international volunteers to look after the animals and to administer the organisation. There are of course hard working Bolivians involved, the park manager Nena, 4 permanant vets, Luis, Javier, Jonny, Patty and 2 or 3 permanent staff like Vladi and Milka, all are invaluable. Other than this it is the volunteers who keep things going, both in terms of money and our hard work..

And so to the animals themselves. The park cares for a huge array, the list is long but here it is, Capuchin monkeys, Spider monkeys, Squirrel monkeys and Albafron monkeys, pumas and ocelots, tucans, macaws, parrots, parakeets, owls or other birds of prey. Pythons, anacondas, turtles and terrapins, small animals like Tejons and Tyras. Phew! We did say the list was long and that is by no means all of them! In the jungle surrounding the area there are a large amount of wild animals as well, including all the monkeys listed above as

The jungle we worked in
well as others like sloths!

The aim is of course to rehabilitate as many of the animals as possible and re-release them into the wild. There are various programmes to achieve this for the different animals. Unfortunately not all can be released, some have never been in the wild and are too humanized to ever be set free. Some are too badly injured either mentally or physically. Some animals are orphans such as the baby puma Luna, whose mother was shot by poachers, her sister died and Luna is the only survivor. Sadly she will never learn to hunt and live in the wild and will therefore be cared for with respect and love by Inti Wara Yassi for all her days.

As we worked in different areas we feel it is best if we each in turn explain our experiences and feelings about our time at Inti Wara Yassi.

Tony says: So, day one, I turned up at 7:30am and was introduced to Melanie who had been working in the clinic on her own for several days, she was relieved to have my help as it is a two person job at least. I was then
Monkey love!Monkey love!Monkey love!

Martina relaxes on Tony's shoulder
introduced to the vets as were mentioned above with Luis in charge as the head vet. Some of you may know of the film or book "The horse whisperer", well Luis is certainly the monkey equivalent, his love for the monkeys is written all over his face and in everything he does, you cannot help but see the love the monkeys give back to him, screaming their welcome whenever he is present, in whichever part of the park he happens to be. I was to become great friends with the vets as the weeks panned out, and in the process improved my Spanish no end as none of them could speak English! At first this was slightly daunting but I resolved to try and learn as much as I could and at every opportunity I added to my Spanish vocabulary and my uderstanding of the language.

The clinic houses all new arrivals to the park so that they can be checked out by the vets and given the necessary treatments prior to moving on to the more appropriate areas of the sanctuary or released. It was a real privilege to care for and look after such a variety of animals. Most volunteers only work with one type of animal in one area. During my time the vets seemed to appreciated my hard work and allowed me to accompany them on many more trips to other animals of the park than usual, a privilege not usually enjoyed by volunteers, and this made me so happy because for me it means that the work I carried out while there had been recognised and had made a wee difference.

The sanctuary has over 300 monkeys of different sorts and thus here in the clinic it is mostly monkeys. At the time of my arrival there were 14 Capuchins, a Spider monkey, a baby squirrel monkey and 2 baby Tejons (badgers). However the number and type of animals here were always changing, I also cared for owls, tortoises and parrots while here. By the end of my 3 weeks the number of monkeys had risen to 24!

So what did the job involve? Well in short, cleaning up after the animals and cleaning the clinic, several times a day, this was very important to keep infection and disease at bay as many of the animals were sick or injured, I became
Baloo the Spectacled BearBaloo the Spectacled BearBaloo the Spectacled Bear

It is hoped he can be released to a bear sanctuary near La Paz
very familiar with sweeping, scrubbing, mopping and disinfecting! Also preparing the food and feeding the animals several times a day was another main job, of course this is equally as important. It seemed to me that they had a better diet than us, with a wide variety of fruit, nuts and vegetables on offer every day.

The other main aspect of the job (if you can call it that!) was interacting with the animals by playing with them or providing interesting things for them to play with, this is called enrichment (or play time!) and is vital to keep them happy and able to cope with captivity during their stay in the clinic. It involved trips into the jungle to collect bamboo, branches and grasses for them, an activity I enjoyed a great deal, hacking and swishing with my machete like a jungle explorer! Also we simply spent time being with them or grooming them (as monkeys do in the wild) or actually making toys and objects for them to use and keep them occupied. This enrichment was undertaken whenever we could.

The typical day was 7:30am to 6pm, a long day of hard tiring labour, but a labour of love as I came to find. I think I forgot to mention that the clinic area and indeed most areas of the sanctuary are outside, the clinic does of course have a medical room, office and area inside as well.

Like most places there is always more to do, and I decided right from the start that I wanted to make as much of a difference as I could in the short time I would be there. Just doing the bare minimum was never an option for me and after I had learnt the basics I therefore busied myself almost daily with some other chore or task I could find, and there were many that the clinic and the park needed doing. If something in the sanctuary needs doing, it will not get done unless a volunteer decides to do it, it quickly became clear that it was pro-activity and hard graft that was needed to keep this place ticking.

For example, I helped build a path into one of the quarantine areas made of pebbles and boulders, this was needed to stop volunteers sludging around in the mud. I cleared the jungle around the clinic
Grandad PumaGrandad PumaGrandad Puma

The oldest puma at Inti Wari Yassi was rescued from a circus, they used to beat him and now he has arthritis
of rubbish which seemed to have built up over many years. I reinforced and repaired cages. I cleared jungle areas to make more room for monkeys to be released from cages on "runners" or ropes. Generally they are allowed this when they are nearly better and ready to be released to another part of the sanctuary or set free altogether. There were many more odd jobs I busied myself with but suffice to say it was important to me to keep active and try and help as much as possible. I felt very strongly about this, I would warrant that I have never worked so hard or so passionately in my entire life, and I enjoyed it!

Melanie was only with me for 2 days before her volunteering time came to an end, Helen was the next volunteer to arrive, a girl from Edinburgh, Scotland, it was now an all Scottish team in the clinic! This of course meant that as Melanie had trained me I now had to train Helen. This is the way Inti Wara Yassi works with the knowledge being passed on from person to person. It is also worth pointing out that in the clinic

Carolina the Parrot - saddly her former owners clipped her wings to stop her flying, so she waddles around chattering all day.
there is always one male and one female volunteer if possible. The monkeys have varied personalities, no two are the same, just like humans. Some prefer male company and some prefer females.

Getting to know the monkeys was a fantastic experience. As I said they all have different personalities and I soon learned how best to interact with each of them. I also got to know the various faces and behaviors the monkeys exhibit and what these meant. Naturally some were easier to be with than others owing to their different backgrounds. Unfortunately some were mentally scarred such as Jabu, he was one of the strangest monkeys we had. Jabu had been in the clinic for some time and sadly he had deep psychological troubles, no one could go near him without him becoming angry and agitated and he would attack them if he could. I have no idea why, but I was soon able to interact with him easily, stroking and cuddling him much to the astonishment of the vets! And this made me very happy, if in some way I could ease his pain I was grateful.

Other monkeys were happier, Thomas was my go to
Grooming TimeGrooming TimeGrooming Time

Thomas grooms Tony's beard
guy for a grooming session, we liked nothing better than to sit for a while grooming each other in turn. And though this was fun it was also giving him some measure of normality, in the wild Capuchin monkeys will groom each other often. This was a peacful interaction with us both relaxing in each others company. I would often look into his brown eyes and wonder what it was he was thinking as he looked back at me.

Tim Tim would have to be my favorite monkey though, he was a young lad full of energy and was awaiting space in the Mirador area of the park, a huge area where the monkeys are almost all on runner ropes allowing them great freedom to be in the jungle. The long term plan is to release as many of these monkeys as possible back into the wild. Anyhoo Tim Tim was on a runner rope here in the clinic and he liked nothing better than sprinting around like a monkey possessed ambushing you should you come near enough, a swift wrestling session would always ensue with him biting and grabbing me, this is how they show affection! It will
Tony and Tim-TimTony and Tim-TimTony and Tim-Tim

One of many wrestling matches
be one of my most abiding memories and was an immense source of fun for us both while I was there. The joy in his face was so clear and so human, it will stay with me for ever.

There were also 2 baby Tejons, which are like badgers. These guys had their own area of the clinic to roam around on runners and were forever getting tangled with each other as they had play fights and they scrambled around digging in the dirt for tasty bugs. The female in particular simply loved being cuddled, she would sit in my lap crying out for me to rub her stomach, if I stopped, her little chirps would start up again until I continued to give her a nice rub. When she tired she would bury her head under my clothes and take a wee nap, which was all well and good for her but I had work to get back to!

There were lots of comings and goings during my three weeks. Sadly one of the baby Squirrel monkeys passed away as the parasites he had were just to bad for his little immune system to cope with, we tried everything we could but to no avail. He was sadly missed, but the cycle of life goes on with new arrivals all the time.

Two sweet young Capuchins were brought into us as unwanted pets in my last week, a male and a female who were totally besotted with each other and were inseparable. They were terrified at first and would cower if you went anywhere near them. But as the days unfolded they soon relaxed in their new surroundings, a huge caged area into which we put many nice branches and logs for them. They loved it! They would chatter away and were soon making friendly faces at me. As they were new I had the opportunity to name them, which was a real privilege. I decided to name the female "Escocia" or Scotland in English, in memory of all the Scots who were in residence at Inti Wara Yassi. I let Katie, the new Volunteer who had arrived to replace Helen, name the male, and amazingly she chose to name him after me! So I do hope that Escocia and Tony the Capuchin monkeys continue to be happy.

It has been emotional remembering the wonderful
Tony on Death BridgeTony on Death BridgeTony on Death Bridge

Proudly clutching his presents for the park at the end of 3 weeks volunteering
monkeys and animals I worked with, but the social aspect of working at Inti Wara Yass, a community of like minded people, cannot go without mention. We had concert nights where those who wanted to sang and played the guitar oh so beautifully. We had simple drinking nights, meals out, birthday celebrations, bonfires by the river and a poker competition in which I finished 3rd out of 25 folk! There were many fantastic people we got to know from many places in the world, the time we spent with them will be remembered fondly. It is one of the harsh pains of travelling that you can meet such kind and warm hearted people who I am happy to call my friends, I only wish that we had more time together, or that we lived closer to each other so that our friendships might grow and I certainly hope that our paths cross again in the future.

I am finding it very difficult to put into words in so short a space even my most memorable experiences, and there are many more monkeys I would like to talk about. Everyday brought me a new challenge and something new to learn. I grew to love my work and all of the monkeys and animals I worked with. It seemed that they grew to love me as well. I mentioned that Luis was greeted by the monkeys of the park with loud screams of joy upon his arrival anywhere, and so it proved to be with me by my third week. It was very emotional and heart warming to shout "hola amigos" as I entered the clinic and to then be met with a wall of noise from my friends! Maybe it was my beard they liked!

Karen says: Goodness me Tony does go on, I'll try to keep this short and sweet, just like me!

From the 3 jobs on offer when I arrived, being baby monkey mum sounded by far the most appealing to me. The other two jobs were in the aviary which would've been cool but I thought I would feel much more at one with the monkeys! I was warned that the job was hard work and quite intense as most of my day would be spent inside the cage with the 6 monkeys, but I was ready for the challenge and could not turn down such a privileged role.

Intense and challenging at times it was, but before I go on I'll tell you a bit about my baby Capuchin monkeys. There were 6 in total, who all spent the day together outside in the big cage with me, here the 3 older monkeys slept while at night time the 3 youngest babies slept inside in a smaller cage to keep them warm. The monkeys aged from the youngest Danielito of 3 months to the oldest Duke at 2 years! All little boys except little Aurora. Sadly they were all orphans who had been taken from their mums very young, to be sold as pets or to perform tricks to line their owner's pockets. Rusper, who I soon learned was one of the most boisterous had arrived in the park dressed in trousers and a hat, no wonder he had an anger management problem!

My role as monkey mum was to be everything their mum would have been for them in the wild. Initially the young cling to their mother's chest until they are larger, when they move to her back. So my day was spent sitting in the cage with
Fluffy AmelioFluffy AmelioFluffy Amelio

One of Karen's baby monkeys
the 3 youngest babies (Danielito, Aurora, Amelio) clinging to my neck and arms. Also in the wild the young would be nursed for several months by their mother until they are ready to be more independent, so I had to milk the three youngest babies using baby bottles three times a day. These "wee three" as I called them needed a lot of love and cuddles, so I happily obliged.

Sounds cute and lovely doesn't it? Well it was, but it wasn't all cuddle time! As these monkeys are so young their immune systems are still weak and they are very susceptible to infections and disease therefore my most important job was to keep the cage spick and span which is pretty diificult with 6 monkeys pooing everywhere! I had to disinfect and scrub the cage twice daily and during the day I had to constantly clean away their poo and pee! Nice. Also as most of my time was spent in the cage with the monkeys running around me this meant that a lot of the poo and pee landed on me! Most days I ended up soaked through with monkey pee. Another perk of the job was the injuries I sustained. Monkeys use their teeth to explore and play, and they love to bite. Usually these bites are playful and to show affection as this is how they interact with one another but some of my boys were getting pretty big and their play bites could hurt, especially when they swung from my ears by their teeth! But despite this, one of my favourite things was play fighting with the older monkeys and they seemed to enjoy it too!

As Tony mentioned keeping the monkeys entertained was another key role, this stopped the monkeys getting bored and kept them clever. So I made all sorts of toys to stimulate challenges they would come across in the wild, thus ensuring my little critters would grow up to be strong and brainy! Peanut leaf parcels always went down a treat! Also, to make the cage nice and homely for the monkeys I used to go out with my machete twice a day to cut down branches in the jungle to decorate the cage with. At first my machete technique had a lot to be desired and I felt bad cutting down the jungle, but by the end of
Karen and DalilaKaren and DalilaKaren and Dalila

More monkey love! This was the first occassion Dalila was out her cage
3 weeks I was hacking down anything that looked good monkey fun and I can safely say my cage was the envy of all the other monkeys. The cage was also fitted out with all sorts of swinging branches, a tire and a slide, great fun for the monkeys but often while cleaning, one of these swinging branches would whack me off the head or poke me in the eye, or alternatively Duke's wet tail would wip me in the eye...surprisingly painful. Sometimes by the end of the day I felt like I'd gone ten rounds with Ricky Hatton.

Unfortunately though, it was not all good times with the baby monkeys. When my job was described to me one of the aspects that made me sure I wanted to do it was the responsibilty of looking after Aurora, the only female baby. Aurora was only 4 months old and had a sad story. She had been born in the park, but unfortunately her mother was attacked by other monkeys and killed. During this attack Aurora had been clinging to her mum and one of the attacking monkeys threw her to the ground injuring Aurora's back and causing her back, hind legs and tail to be paralysed. In the hope that Aurora would regain feeling and movement in her hind quarters I had to give her physiotherapy twice a day for half an hour, this involved moving her legs for her to strengthen her muscles and massage her legs, back and tail. This was a task I took really seriously and I was determined that by the end of my time with her I would see a difference. I even tried reflexology on her paws, hoping it would maybe help. Sometimes you could feel her kicking back slightly or moving her legs a little which always gave me hope that she would one day be running around like her friends.

Due to this disability Aurora was very small for her age and had severe muscle wastage in her back legs. Despite this she always managed to feed fine and she even moved around the cage pulling herself around on her front legs. If she saw the other monkeys playing with something she wanted or eating a tasty snack on the other side of the cage she would hang on the wiring of the cage by her front arms only

Another of Karen's babies
and climb resolutely to them. As she did so she pulled a very cute determined face as if she was gritting her teeth, intent on not missing out. For this I hugely admired her and I soon became very protective over her, always making sure she got just as much food as the others and keeping her clean and dry. Sadly as I'd arrived Aurora had stopped taking as much milk and seemed a bit down at the mouth. The girl who trained me assured me that Aurora always looked sad but I wasn't so sure so I kept a very close eye on her. Aurora spent all her time clinging to my chest, cuddling for warmth, she would only ever leave me at lunch time. During my lunch hour I'd leave Aurora with a blanket but by the time I came back she was often shivering and ready for some more cuddles. Slowly Aurora started to eat less, take less milk and she had diarrhoea, I immediately told the vets who suspected she had parasites. Monkeys often catch parasites but as Aurora was already so weak I was told it could be very dangerous. They began to treat her with injections everyday, but I was still worried as she seemed to be getting worse and she looked really sad. She seemed severely dehydrated and I couldn't understand why the vets hadn't asked me to give her anything else. I told the vets how worried I was and they gave me some vitamin supplements for her and some build-up drinks to treat her dehydration. She began to drink but she still wouldn't eat much. Again I went to the vets with her and this time I asked more questions and told them how worried I was that her health wasn't improving. When they saw her they took her into the clinic and gave her a hot water bottle, here she would stay so they could keep an eye on her. The vets said that most monkeys would have responded to the treatment, but as Aurora was so weak already she was really ill and it would be difficult for her to get over this. I checked in on her many times that day, when I went to see her she would climb up onto me and lie with her eyes closed, occasionally looking up to me with dejected eyes. I
Hard at WorkHard at WorkHard at Work

Leaf cutter ants
urged her to get better and keep fighting, telling her she was going to be the first Alpha female monkey. Sadly, at the end of my working day I went in to see Luis, the vet and he told me she had passed away. I was absolutely devastated. I couldn't believe how attached I'd become in such a short time.

Despite the loss, I got up the next day bouyed by the thoughts of the other babies and their antics. At first it felt odd not having Aurora with me and now I had more time in my day without nursing her so I decided I would use this playing with or grooming the others and making them toys. This allowed me to have more time with them and develop closer relationships with them than I think I could have done with Aurora there as she did take up a lot of my time and worries. I kept an eye on the others to make sure they had not been infected either but they all seemed very happy and healthy. Alas, we did have a happy ending, as is the way of the sanctuary the week after Aurora died a new baby female arrived, Wilma. She had been a pet but was beginning to get too big for her owners who brought her to the sanctuary. So she gradually joined us in the cage, I'd bring her in everyday until at last she seemed comfortable with her surroundings and the other monkeys. At first she was shy but after a few days she was chasing the boys and even beating up the oldest male, Duke! It was great to see her join in with her new friends and she seemed well chuffed with her new home.

After two weeks it was time to train the new mum and I was surprised how attached I was to my monkeys. After only two weeks they really trusted me and looked to me for warmth, food and fun. I was sad to say goodbye and will never forget the many beautiful moments I had with them, being groomed by the older males, cuddling the wee ones and play fighting with Rusper and Duke. It was an amazing experience to interact so closely with the monkeys and I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did.

My third week was spent in monkey quarantine, this is where the monkeys spend time before being released into other areas of the park. Monkeys are also taken here if they need special care or if they are too 'humanised' to be released. Here there are around 45 monkeys, mostly capuchin but there are also a few spider monkeys here. It was great to be given the opportunity to work with some mature monkeys too and I couldn't believe how big some of them grow! Some of the alpha males are like dogs rather than monkeys, and they are strong! Feeding them was a less tactile experience.

The best part of being in quarantine was learning all about the spider monkeys whom I hadn't had much interaction with so far, apart from the wild ones who used to try and steal my babies' food! They are very different from the mischievious capuchins. For a start they are a lot bigger, but they are a lot more placid as vegetarians tend to be! They generally hang around from their amazing prehensile tales which are really long. I was so shocked when I was first noticed a spider monkey's tale - its end is hairless and covered in skin similar to our fingerprints so really it is like another arm or very long finger! Seeing them use their tale to swing elegantly through the trees is beautiful and they make the best facial expressions too. You could sit and watch these guys all day.

During my time in quarantine, I was luckily enough to take part in allowing a spider monkey, Delila out her cage for the first time. This meant sitting with her as she adjsuted to her new surroundings and untangling her rope from the trees as she hadn't figured out how to climb without getting stuck yet. Compared to the capuchins the spider monkeys are very heavy and at the end of the day my neck ached from her weight. I got on well with Delila, she had been rescued from a home where she had been fed only sausages (these monkeys are vegetarians) and forced to drink alcohol as the owners thought it was funny to see her drunk. As a result of this poor diet her skin and fur were in a bad way and she smelled bad. She needed lots of grooming and we were kindered spirits and we liked nothing better to sit in the sun together grooming one another and eating oranges which I would peel for her.

At the end of each day everyone gathered in the cafe to enjoy a well deserved beer and to share stories of the day, some people suspiciously cleaner than others. I can easily say I was always among the muckiest but I reckon it showed I was not afraid of some hard work, anyway the monkeys didn't seem to mind. It was a fantastic 3 weeks which I'll never forget and I feel very lucky to have had such an amazing opportunity, I am definitely up for more monkey business in the near future. Apparantly it comes naturally to me!

Woops, sorry for blethring on...ther is just so many monkey tails (!) to tell.

Tony and Karen say:

That was certainly a long one, we do hope you have not been bored too much. Even with the length of this blog we both feel we have only scratched the surface of our experiences and feelings. We look forward to talking with you all when we get home, and showing you some of the videos! Adios for now...

Additional photos below
Photos: 32, Displayed: 32


Bolivian BusBolivian Bus
Bolivian Bus


7th August 2008

Amazing. I love the pic of you getting groomed man. We can perhaps continue this tradition upon your return! What a tremendous experience and something that will live long in the memory. Keep safe. xxx
7th August 2008

Where's Tony? All i see are monkeys.....
And also, it is increasingly difficult to tell the difference between Tony and the wildlife. Spend much more time in the Hulu man, you'll be mistaken for a Yeti and duly dispatched! Keep up the beardy work mon bro. Peace.
7th August 2008

Monkey business
Phew, that was a long one! It will have been a great priviledge to have worked in the park, some of your stories brought a tear to my eye. I think you have found your perfect job!
7th August 2008

Karen, when did you hook up with the Che Guevara/David Bellamy lookalike?!?
8th August 2008

What an adventure you guys are having. Your work at the sanctuary looks very rewarding. I look forward to hearing more about this!! Love the beard Tony. Beards are the way forwards. :)>
8th August 2008

Munky Busyness
That sounds like you both had a quality time. I was hankering after more monkey stories. Tony your beard is fantastic, I have been keeping mine reasonably trimmed. Muchos luvmeos!!!!
9th August 2008

Not Long Enough
And I don't mean the beard! I am weeping as I type this (you know how well I do this). Feeling your joy, your love for your animal friends, your sadness at the loss of one of them, and your reluctance to leave them. You are both such beautiful people. Ants, I am blessed and honoured you are my son, and Kaz, my son is most surely blessed to have you for his partner. Love and
12th August 2008

Jungle O Fun
Guys what can I say, totally enjoyed the story, deeply touching moments for the both of you. The facial hair is coming on great though.
19th August 2008

i love it, i am fully jealous of ur monkey lurve!

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