Takeover Tuesday with Senior Mammal Keeper, Chris Davies
On 31st January, Senior Mammal Keeper Chris Davies took over Durrell's Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. Find out what happened when Chris took our followers on social media behind the scenes with our Sulawesi crested black macaques, black & gold howler monkeys and narrow striped mongoose!
What better way to start off my #TakeoverTuesday on the Macaque section than with a picture of our founder Gerald Durrell and Sir David Attenborough with 'Hitam', our first ever Sulawesi crested black macaque, (or as they were known then- Celebes Ape) taken on 3rd August 1963. Not only was he the first macaque here at Durrell, but he has the privilege of being the first ever macaque in the EEP Studbook.
The following is an excerpt from the Jersey Evening Post that originally accompanied this photograph:
"DAVID ATTENBOROUGH AT JERSEY ZOO: Two of the country’s leading raconteurs and expert broadcasters on animals and animal life, David Attenborough and Gerald Durrell, this morning at Jersey Zoo recorded a BBC sound radio programme in the naturalist series. This will be heard at 1.10 p.m. on August 18th and will be entitled 'Island Zoo'. At the Jersey Zoo Gerald Durrell and his guest were out before breakfast with the BBC Natural History Unit unit from Bristol, under the supervision of the producer Mr. Jeffrey Boswell, and consisting of two sound engineers, Mr. Bill Costello and Mr. Bill Blake."
"BACKGROUND NOISES: The programme itself is in the form of a duologue in which Gerald Durrell shows David Attenborough around the zoo, and the background is provided by the animals themselves. 'Stars' of the sound feature part of the programme are the chimpanzees, the marmoset and red-fronted Tucuman parrot. The whole recording was impromptu and unscripted. David Attenborough is staying in the island until tonight or tomorrow morning. He is especially well known for his 'Zoo Quest' series on BBC television and is also a veteran sound radio broadcaster."
Having done some digging through our extensive records, I also discovered that little Hitam here is the great-great-grandad of our current dominant male, Kato. Many thanks to Lee Durrell and Jeremy Mallinson for helping with my research.
This is Neo, one of our adolescent males of our 7 strong troop here. This photo shows how important the macaques are to the forests of Sulawesi. Just like our fruit bats here at Durrell, macaques are prolific seed dispersers, but they have cheek pouches (just like a hamster) where they store fruit for later and eat it in peace. This is especially true of the more subordinate animals of the group who will fill them up and move away from the main group, thereby transporting the seeds further when they pass through the other end in their faeces, helping the fruiting trees spread through the forest.
The main problems these guys face out in the wild is down to the loss of their forest habitat as well as being hunted for food. There are various charities working out in Sulawesi trying to educate the locals about sustainable land use and trying to stop them hunting the macaques. Check out “Selamatkan Yaki” for more information: https://selamatkanyaki.com
Now for a close-up of our dominant male, Kato. Macaques communicate in various different ways with facial gestures, body posturing, vocalisations and their magnificent crests. Here is a great example of a 'lip-smack'. This is the macaque equivalent of saying “I want to be your friend”. I'm under no illusions that Kato was only doing this for the peanut that is off-camera!
Let me introduce you to 2 of our black and gold howler monkeys, Bruce and Rubia. You'll find these guys over by our free ranging golden lion tamarins in Tamarin Wood, but they originally come from the Andean mountains in South America. Howler monkeys are one of the loudest animals in the world and if you’re lucky, you might get to hear them calling together as a group. The sound in the background isn’t them, but bonus points to whoever can correctly identify who or what is making the call. This video shows how agile howler monkeys are and it’s all down to their prehensile tail. It’s almost like having a 5th limb that they can use for balance as well as gripping on to branches. It is partially hairless on the underside to help grip and they can even support their whole body weight on just their tails!
Here’s Stripey again everyone! Bokiboky love investigating new things and today’s enrichment is my welly boot! Can you see how Stripey rubs his face and rear all over it? This is how they mark their territory through scent. You can even see him scrabbling away on the underside of my boot investigating all of the nooks and crannies for any interesting items. Unfortunately for him, my boot was spotless as I had just cleaned it before going into his enclosure to make sure he stays nice and healthy and doesn’t pick up any diseases from outside.
And we’re back with the Bokiboky. In this video, you can see Stripey in the foreground and his mate Janette running up the ladder. Make sure you have the sound on for this as you can hear Janette making my favourite ever animal vocalisation. This is called 'bubbling' due to it sounding very similar to bubbling water. When you hear this noise, you know you have a happy Bokiboky!
Posted 15 February 2017