Fota Wildlife Park – My favourite place in Cork!

18 January, 2012 § Leave a comment

Spider monkeys at Fota Wildlife ParkIt’s my favourite place to go when I come home and getting up early to spend all day walking around in a persistent drizzle to get the most out of the visit was more than worth it.The last visit I paid was just about a year ago and I was delighted with the changes and developments that have been going on. The white-tailed sea eagles are getting an extension. The whole of the entrance has been revamped with a new cafe, gift shop and education centre. The ever more popular meerkats have joined Fota’s team of conservation ambassadors.

I was most excited by the addition of a beautiful group of grey-cheeked mangabeys to the collection. Watching them cracking walnut shells without even the slightest effort and stuffing their cheek pouches made me smile. They share an enclosure with the meerkats, warming their bellys in the picture. Getting off the train to the sound of dueting Lar gibbons was pretty cool too! Having the park almost to ourselves was a treat (coz most people probably wouldn’t be very attracted to the idea of walking around all day in the rain).

I was impressed by the abundace of young throughout the park including Lar gibbon, Agile gibbon, Grant’s zebra (above), Howler monkey, Columbian black spider monkey (first picture on the right, not the best quality but they are so gorgeous I had to include it), Rothschild giraffe, Eastern grey kangaroo , Chilean flamingo, lion-tailed macaque, ostrich. Personally ostriches scare me but they were still a delight. Seeing the gibbons and other primates making use of every bit of their enclosures was great to see, and seeing a joey in its mama’s pouch for the first time was a treat(right)!

I’m already looking forward to my next visit.

Monkey hugs

Pesky pest vervets… and the role of sanctuaries in conservation

9 October, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’m writing a couple of papers on vervets at the moment. One is on arrivals data from a vervet sanctuary I used to live at in South Africa (Vervet Monkey Foundation). The other is an attempt at a compilation of vervet crop-raiding data. I’ve got a few thoughts on these two topics.

One Рsanctuaries seem to have been relegated to a welfare issue, on the fringe of conservation. Sanctuaries are on the front line of conservation efforts. Their inclusion in a holistic approach to species protection seems obvious. Their potential for education outreach, on top of the rehabilitation and sanctuary they provide, is something to be harnessed. They have valuable information on threats in local areas, if databases are kept and updated. They would make good bases for researching local wild populations. Some things to think about.

Two – crop raiding vervets are irritating! Primates are too intellegent for any barrier methods to work and vervets are too bloody annoying to go away and too much of a pack of generelists to say no to pretty much any crop! Oh and I am surprised at the lack of crop-raiding studies from South Africa. I’ll see what I think about this when I’m finished it. Right now I’m at a impasse…

There are some monkey thoughts for now.

Irritating to farmers and tourist spots, yes. Beautiful and in need of some help – definitely.

Monkey hugs!

Which of Britain’s top brands contain palm oil?

22 July, 2011 § Leave a comment

Have a read of this very interesting and informative article published by The Independent. The article Palm oil in Britain’s top brands lists Britain’s top 100 brands and tells us the product’s rank, the manufacturer, sales and whether or not each product contains palm oil.

There are some interesting finds. We feed our cats Whiskas and Felix and I was delighted to know both are palm oil free!

Palm oil project threatens both people and rainforest in Cameroon

11 July, 2011 § Leave a comment

There is a plan to develop a 72,000 hectare palm oil plantation in the rainforest of Cameroon. The destruction this deforestation would cause is devastating.

Have a look at this petition site http://www.rainforest-rescue.org/ and if you have the time or the inclination, add your signature to do your bit in the attempt to prevent this loss.

Monkey hugs!

Aoife

My mom will be happy about palm-oil FREE Leonidas

21 April, 2011 § Leave a comment

Leonidas – yum!

My mom has had to listen to a lot of palm-oil related sadness (along with most of my friends). She has been pretty cool about changing some of her shopping. But the one thing she would hate to have to give up is Leonidas. But it shall not have to be so!

Leonidas is palm-oil FREEEEEEEE!

Do small things make a difference?

20 November, 2010 § Leave a comment

I’ve been living in the bush in South Africa studying wild vervet monkeys in the Samara Game Reserve. Previous to this my only experience of these amazing clever cheeky little monkeys has been at a rehabilitation centre in Tzaneen, South Africa, where I looked after orphaned, injured and ex-pet vervets. The chance to see them in he wild has been incredible.

The research is being carried out on a private game reserve that has given me much food for thought. But this is a little too much food to munch just now. We can wonder about game reserves another day…

The cool little bit that I am excited about and wanted to share is this – One of my fellow field researchers has decided that when she treats herself to chocolate (and quite a treat it is since we have our fancy town trips only once a fortnight) she now buys Lindt or Toblerone. This is apparently because my conscience ‘got to her’. These little things are encouraging. She’s told her friends. This is even better. Yet my own brother doesn’t give it a second thought. You get to the people you can, and you hope that the little things make a difference.

It is too hot to write any more but I will be back with more ramblings.

Big love and monkey hugs

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