|This monkey certainly was assertive! Photo Pablo Somarriba.|
|The monkey made a special bond with Elmer, who has a special way with animals. Photo Pablo Somarriba.|
|This White-faced capuchin monkey was very active, while at Estacion Biologica! Today, she lives wild and free, in the forests of Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. Photo Pablo Somarriba.|
Once she was released from her cruel collar, she slowly tested her new limits. First, she only sat and observed her human friends, glancing at the abundant forest without moving. Then, she was taken by bravery. She tested a small tree, and found it to her liking. Her memories of the wild had not left her. Within seconds, she jumped from one small tree to another, then scaled to several meters height. Within a few minutes, she was gone, not to return. What an emotional start to a new, free life!
Wistful but satisfied that one more sentient being in this universe will live and die according to her biological mandates, and not in captivity, the crew of volunteers and GAIA staff went back to Estacion Biologica to contemplate it all. After all, White-faced capuchin monkeys have many human qualities. It seems so natural that someone would see a monkey act cute and adorable and think, "I want one". Yet, when we see how this monkey acted, once free, the answer was clear. She tolerated us but she knew where she belonged. She scaled the trees and never returned. We hope someday to see her again, but from afar, and hopefully, in the company of her new simian friends. She, and all wild animals, deserve to live and die in their natural habitat, not in a cage or on a chain.
It makes us emotional to think that we can bring happiness into the life of a small animal that looks so much like us, so easily. It seems like so little, but at the same time, so much to bring a monkey back to her life that she abandoned unwillingly, by the cruel acts of other humans. When we saw her go away and not look back, we knew we had done something good.
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