Animal behaviorist David Peiro, the unofficial godfather of our two spider monkeys (see the Friday, January 13th post) visited today. He thinks both monkeys are beautiful.
Like Olivier, our biologist, David believes Chiquito needs to spend time alone. I was going on the premise that since he wouldn't be separated from his mother in the wild, it would be psychologically unhealthy for him to be left alone in the cage. But David's concern is that the monkeys will end up as pets if they're too dependent on us, and that's the last thing we want. And it will certainly make our lives easier if someone doesn't have to be in the cage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week...although we were willing to make that commitment until Lolita was older.
Since Chiquito will not release the only (or last) person who is in the cage with him to let them out the door, the use of force is going to be necessary until he learns the rules. David demonstrated by yelling "NO" and used a broom handle to pry Chiquito off his leg. It was hard for me to watch, especially when Chiquito cried and looked distressed. (I'm going to have a hard time being so dominant, even though I have no problem when it comes to dog training.) Fortunately Paul was able to be loud and firm under David's supervision.
Talk about tough love, though. I think I felt worse than Chiquito.
Jane Goodall has always been my hero, and working with primates an aspiration. Africa wasn't in the cards the summer I turned 16, when my parents offered to send me to volunteer, and there was only one class (in physical anthro-pology) when I wanted to study primatology in college.