By Gina

When I went to see the 3 capuchins that would be adopted by me, I never imagined the conditions they were kept in.

I, along with my father, traveled to Dahlonega Georgia, USA, to see these animals that the animal dealer had told me about over the phone. Mr. Whelcher (the dealer) took my father and I to a medium sized farmhouse on his property. Within those walls laid the most unimaginable conditions. Several groups of squirrel monkeys were in a single cage no larger than 5’x5’x5′! He made the comment “I keep losing the babies, I just don’t know what’s wrong with ’em.” Gee, I wonder why?

In one small dog kennel by herself was a female adult pigtail macaque named Maggie. She had no teeth and was starved for attention. I went in with her and she immediately started lip-smacking and grooming. I held her for a long time while my father and Whelchel talked in their “good ole boy” language. I will always be haunted by Maggie and wished to God that I had had the money at the time to buy her.

Finally, in a separate room in one large kennel, were the 3 capuchins. 1 male tufted, and 2 female weepers. Both females had bloody raw tails from over grooming. And one female had several fingers and a toe missing. These were the ones I had called about, and after seeing them all roomed together in the inadequate cage, fighting because there was no room for escape; there was no doubt in my mind that they were indeed coming home with me.

We were asked to step aside while a “wrangler” went in with a large net and proceeded to slam these poor animals against the walls to try to capture them. They were hurt severely both physically and mentally.

We got them home into their new large indoor/outdoor compound that my father built himself. They were extremely stressed, so I left them alone for the night after placing their food and bedding inside.

After all they had been through, after hating the people who had previously handled them, I was rewarded 3 months of adopting them with the male I named Cebus allowing me to groom and pet him. We fell in love immediately. Cebus trusted me and allowed me to get very close to him. The females never did, but fell in love with my (then) fiancĂ©. Within 2 years of living with me and being loved and properly cared for, the female Ella, gave birth in 1994 to her 1st born, a son I named Kima. His name meant “monkey” in Kiswahili. It was and still is the best gift I have ever received to watch little Kima lovingly raised by his REAL mother. Ella made a wonderful mom, not even letting me look at him for too long before moving to another private spot. Within 3 months of Kima’s birth, he took his 1st wobbly steps towards me, although Ella would not let me touch him.

After reaching about 9 months of age, little Kima and I became fast playmates. Ella no longer could “control” her growing son’s curiosity and just let him go, watching me closely the entire time. Two years later, she gave birth again to Kima’s sister, Yum-Yum. She was the most precious baby I had ever seen. Once again, I had been blessed with the gift of a healthy happy monkey giving birth to an offspring.

I hope everyone appreciates these gifts that God has blessed us with.

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