We had two young women visit today, Melissa who is a Tica from San Ramon, and Haley Hill Pearson, an American who is on her dream visit to Costa Rica, photographing and volunteering with wildlife. Lolita was equally fascinated by Melissa's colorful head scarf and Haley's SLR camera, and it made me feel badly that we aren't giving Lolita more mental stimulation. Spider monkeys are believed to be second only to orangutans on the intelligence hierarchy of non-human primates. The problem is that we don't want Lolita to become habituated to human culture, or to at least keep her exposure to a minimum, so that she can be successfully rehabilitated back into the wild.
Melissa was wearing the scarf on her hair, so Lolita attempted to put it on her own head. Haley was looking through the camera, so Lolita peered into it also...albeit the wrong end.
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.