Feb 23, 2012

Did Jane Goodall Ever Cry?

I wondered the above, and even though I've read her books, I can't recall reading about tears. Maybe I overlooked it, or maybe someone told her it would be bad science. I wondered this today, as I sat and watched Connie, who is now alone again - "Did Jane Goodall ever cry during an observation?" I had to hold my tears back today. Sometimes, amidst your best efforts things still go wrong and they have. Re-pairing Connie and Spruce didn't go as well as we planned, to say the least, and we had to take him out again. I watched her today, and she almost seemed to be looking for him at the last place he was. I know there is no place for emotion in "science," but my heart is breaking. These aren't just my research subjects I watch every night, they are good friends - and it hurts to see them in such distress. I'm invested, and I care about their well being and happiness. If only they could speak.

Connie (left), and Spruce (right) - before the initial separation.

In brighter news, I saw Retsina play today! :) Which is something I hardly ever see them do, much less the adults. She was drinking water from her faucet and afterwards she'd watch the water drip down to the floor. She did this multiple times, and at one point just went over to the faucet and pressed down. It's like she was trying to understand..."where does the water go?" She'd watch it drip down, she'd stare at the floor, release, look back at the faucet and repeat the process. It made me laugh, and once again feel like I was discovering molten lava for the first time. I feel like that often though. I blame owl monkeys for being so remarkable.

According to Sian, Bob has a theory that they play with their water at night - and after what I saw Retsina do tonight - I'd say he may well be on to something! On that note, thank you Bob, for your spelling corrections to my blog! Sian did finally give them to me today - & I'm very appreciative of you taking the time to care! :)

Feb 21, 2012

Long lost urine...

I found myself watching monkeys last night, or lately I should say and when they urinate the thought that goes through my head is always along the lines of: "Nooo! Long lost urine! You could've been mine!" Yes, it's that serious. Almost heartbreaking at moments, especially when an individual urinates that you had been trying so hard to collect from.

Mrs. Fuzzy, begging: "Please?"

Mr. Fuzzy eating his marshmallows, after feverishly rubbing himself.
Alas, it's been an insanely busy week at the Conservancy. Today there was about 11 people in the woods (unhappy face insert here). WAY too many people. Thank God for Larissa who was watching Spruce be re-introduced to Connie with me, I had to hand her my clipboard half way through, because I had a migraine I felt was splitting my head in two. Spruce is on the floor. At least, that is where I left him. I think Connie smells Lilac on him and is super pissed off. I'm sure in the wild she would have rejected him. I mean, wouldn't you reject someone who left you for someone else? If only I could talk to her I'd say: "It wasn't his choice, it was ours, silly humans - and he was very unhappy." Maybe he'll speak up for himself and they can chill out again, all our cortisol levels could go down.

I had another run in with anointing yesterday. I had a photoshoot with the Fuzzies. Literally, that's what it felt like. Oh, and they asked me to anoint them. When they ran out of cinnamon coated marshmallows they looked at me, face to face, almost begging me...so I rubbed them with my cinnamon paper. They were in heaven. Obviously, they derive pleasure from this. Who can watch them and say they don't? Only someone with no common sense.

Connection and communication that occurs
without words is the most amazing kind.

Feb 9, 2012

LC/ MS: Losing Control (of) My Sanity :)

I spent the entire day yesterday lost, but in a good way. By the end of my undergraduate career I will owe a lot of my success to a lot of other people. Dr. John Barry at BBC is letting us use his HPLC, LCMS, and Elisa machines at will as long as we provide standards for our samples. I won't lie, it's fun. I don't know why, but it is. Maybe because it allows the perfectionist in me to come out and play without being criticized. I'm so excited, I almost can't believe its all happening. I literally stood in front of the machine yesterday that will define the next year of my life. I got a taste. I will spend countless hours at monkey jungle and countless hours at the lab over the next year, countless weekends and nights - and I'm excited. I am a ballsy undergraduate, and I will make an even ballsier graduate student.

I can't wait to run my first urine sample. I just might cry from joy! :) Seriously.

All in all, the festival during the weekend was fantastic. It was a nice turnout, and the talk by Angela Maldonado was inspiring. There was Amazonian fruit, Brazilian dancers, and lots of talk about what else? Primates. It was a really nice afternoon.

Dr. Angela Maldonado & Thomas from Entropika.

With Jay & Bruce, the team I worked with on social anointing.

The lungs of the world. 

More urine collections and observations, my hypothesis is finally coming together. I think I've decided on something I'll stick with, and it means only a slight adjustment to my methods. The only thing I want at the moment is to watch the antics of Wookie & Austin, I think I will make time for them tonight. (: 

Feb 3, 2012

A Bittersweet Symphony ♪

Like humans, who are sometimes incompatibile together as a unit. I find that owl monkeys can also be incompatibile as a unit. The latest pairing will most likely be separated next week. Spruce is most likely going back in with Connie, and Gustavo is most likely going to pair with Lilac. Everyone is too stressed as is. I doubt Connie & Spruce will ever breed, but he won't breed with Lilac either if he is so "unhappy."

Lilac & Spruce, a few days after pairing, before sunset.
Urine collection was unsuccessful this week. No one wanted to pee. It's like they went on strike. Almost as if saying: "No! Just because I'm a monkey and your holding a marshmallow DOES NOT mean you can manipulate me into peeing in a bowl for you!" Me:  -__-

Yesterday I think Violet deliberately urinated outside her enclosure just to spite me. How she managed that one, is over my head. Whoever says animals don't have a mind of their own, has very obviously never met a primate.

The festival is this Saturday! Get excited! FIU has also taken an interest in the research at the Conservancy, which is fantastic. I say the more exposure for our partnership, the better. We do fantastic things, and I'm pleased the university I've spent the last 5 years of my life at agrees. On that note, my thanks go out to Dr. Furton and Dr.Makemson who seem to both have forwarded & gotten my e-mails into the right hands & Evelyn Perez for a fantastic article. It's my deep hope that the link between FIU and the Conservancy will only grow stronger as the years progress.


A bittersweet week indeed, but here's to the future and to looking forwards and never behind.