Peter is an independent international zoo consultant, critic and writer with over 50 years work within zoos.
International Monkey Day
International Monkey Day takes place on the 14th December of each year. it has been celebrated each year since 2000 when it was created and made popular by two artist students from Michigan State University. The day is for all non human primates and so zoos around the world will draw attention to the plight that some species are facing from habitat loss, poaching or exploitation.
Many zoos will have Monkey Day events raising money for various conservation projects.
The movie King Kong was released on the 5th Year of celebration of International Monkey Day.
Some Famous Primates
KoKo a Western Lowland Gorilla who mastered over a thousand words in sign language and understand even more in English.
Gordo a Squirrel Monkey who flew into space in 1958 aboard Jupiter AM-13'
Albert a Rhesus Macaque launched into space in 1948 aboard a V2 rocket.
There are dozens of others to choose from. They appear in children's books and toys and in numerous TV programmes and Movies. Often they will be humanised and dressed in clothes. This really doesn't do them any favours, PRIMATES ARE NOT SUITABLE PETS.
Back in the late 1960's in addition to my role of Big Cat Keeper I also carried out Relief Keeper duties on a number of sections.
One of these was the cleaning and feeding of a mixed group of around twenty Rhesus and Pig Tailed Macaques. It was a totally inadequate set up as there was no trapping off arrangement. I had to work in with the animals. This meant taking extreme care to avert my gaze and not make eye contact with the animals and just get on with the work.
Having carried out this task at least half a dozen times without incident I felt reasonably confident. However on one day I had just locked myself in the cage when I was suddenly attacked. Not just by one animal but by all of them. In just seconds I had received pretty severe injuries to both hands and my head. Somehow I managed to extricate myself from the cage and lock it to prevent escape. There was blood everywhere.
I was taken to the hospital where I was all stitched up. The following two weeks were extremely difficult. Without the use of my hands was extremely difficult and especially keeping clean.
Once I had recovered I found that I hadn't. There was so much that I could no longer do with my right hand. Slowly I got used to the inconvenience. Then years later whilst travelling in India I had occasion to visit a temple dedicated to the Goddess Lakshmi. Now I am not a believer but some sort of miracle occurred during that visit for which I am ever thankful.
Even more thankful today because I had a stroke in 2019 which has incapacitated my left hand and I know rely so much more on my right.
Yes, Monkeys Bite!