Woolly monkey fundraiser

Earlier this year, journalist Pedro Andrade visited Merazonia to film an episode for a new VICE TV series. The results can now be seen in the series Unknown Amazon. The star of the show is Pedro Jr, a baby woolly monkey that happened to arrive during filming. In this article we update you on Junior, the friends he has made and other animals!

PedroAndrade Merazonia Vice tv








Pedro Jr's sad story is most likely one we see often: his mom got shot and Junior, clinging on to his mom, fell down the tree with her. His mom was eaten, while Junior was sold on the illegal market as a pet. Can you imagine how traumatic that experience is for any young being? Some never recover from this. Luckily, Pedro was brought to us at an early stage in his life, which increases his chances to return to the wild.

Since he arrived in Merazonia, late January, Pedro got over his initial shellshock. A good diet, including fresh leaves, help him grow and keep him healthy, but most importantly: he got playmates from his own species. This is vital for his psychological development.

woolly babiesJunior's gang

Pedro now has company from three more young woolly monkeys: Chancho, Django and Leo (who arrived only last week). The four of them form our own woolly monkey kindergarten, where they playfully develop their climbing and foraging skills and learn to interact with other monkeys. That social part will be needed to become part of a group later on and, later on in life, survive again back in the wild.

Junior is one of the more boisterous of the youngsters. But little by little, all four are making great progress. For some, that takes more time. Like Chancho. He has lived outside the jungle for far longer than the rest and without any other primates around. He also had some physical issues that lead to the amputation of his arm. Despite all this, he is slowly crawling out of his shell and interacting with the other monkeys more often. Some monkeys simply need more time.

Support Junior

It is a challenge to receiving four young woolly monkeys, on top of the group of adults we already house, and all the other animals in our care. Baby monkeys take a lot of resources (baby formula, food), time and devotion to keep healthy. And since Merazonia does not receive any governmental funding, the centre depends solely on volunteers and supporters. You can donate to Merazonia or adopt Pedro Jr, the red howlers or one of the other animals we care for and receive regular updates!

Although the road to freedom for Junior is still long - first of all: he has a lot of growing to do - there is hope for Junior. In 2018 we did release a group of woolly monkeys within in our own reserve. Most of them had a similar background as Junior. We managed to track them for about 8 months with the use of radio collars and two teams who followed them on distance through the dense jungle. There are several wild groups living in our area and we suspect that recently we saw a group that had some members of our released group!

Red howlers monkeys

Red howler monkeys MerazoniaTo update you on some of the other animals that were shown in the episode of Unknown Amazon: the group of red howlers is doing extremely well! The young ones Pepper and Ruby just keep growing, their red coats shining as never before and the group as a whole, lead by big bearded Emuya, is seen exploring new parts of the jungle. We hope to introduce juvenile monkey Rua to them soon. These gorgeous reds are also up for adoption by the way. Currently we are the only centre in Ecuador successfully raising red howler monkeys in captivity and more importantly: manage to set them free again!

Tamarin monkeys

We have received many tamarin monkeys this year and had to create several groups, and then find different release sites for them. The thing with tamarin monkeys is that yes, they might be small but they are feisty and territorial. We have had several tamarin releases now and we started to struggle finding areas where they could be released. Luckily, some other conservation projects helped us out and granted us permission to set up releases o their land, resulting in two more groups regaining freedom!

Tamarins are lead by a true Amazon, namely a female. The duties of caring for the offspring are shared among the dad, uncles, aunts and siblings. You like girl power? Support our tamarin release efforts!

Of human news

Anteater check Merazonia Louisa BailliePedro Andrade's best human supporting actress in the show, Merazonia's own veterinarian Louisa Baillie, has recently injured her knee. She sustained the injury during a typical jungle vet activity: she was following a released anteater to gather a poop sample from him and ensure he was doing well. Unfortunately her leg got stuck in the mud and she damaged her menicus. She is on the mend but frustrated because she cannot practise her favourite passtime: trail running. We wish her a speedy recovery and admire her dedication to the job. But the anteater (seen here on the right) is happy and free though. O yes, and Pedro Andrade Sr. discusses his experiences filming Unknown Amazon in this podcast.

For further questions: don't hesitate to contact us via e-mail or social media!