Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Primate Update 11-15


Words in Hawaiian have Mana, or life energy/divine power, and one of the most sacred words is Mahalo.  In the most basic translation, Mahalo means thankfulness and appreciation, however the true meaning is much deeper than that, and can be seen by analyzing the word:
Ma= In +  ha=breath (life/divine) + alo= presence: May you be in the presence of the divine breath.

When you say Mahalo to to another person, you are blessing them and expressing sincere gratitude, respect and admiration. To live with the value of Mahalo, means to live in thankfulness and appreciation of all that life gives us.  It means recognizing our skills, knowledge and experiences as gifts to be treasured and celebrated, and utilizing those gifts in the best possible way. 

At Pacific Primate Sanctuary, wprimate deeply resonate with the value of Mahalo; it impacts all that we do. We are profoundly grateful for:
The calling to be a part of something good, and shine a little light in the darkness is a true gift.  Every single member of the Pacific Primate Sanctuary community is supporting something they truly believe in and making a difference in the world. The Sanctuary’s successes would not be possible wihout our phenomenal supporters.  If we all follow our hearts, and use our gifts to benefit others, our lives reflect the value of Mahalo, and that will make the world a better place for everyone. 

Pacific Primate Sanctuary News



The event will include a Silent Auction featuring local artists and businesses. PPS will receive a portion of the proceeds from all pizza sales, so please mark your calendar and invite your family and friends to join us on 12/1 for a Pizza Party FUNdraiser for the Monkeys at Flatbread in Paia from 4-10pm!


Pacific Primate Sanctuary Inc. has been honored with a prestigious 2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit Award by GreatNonprofits, the leading provider of user reviews about nonprofit organizations.

GreatNonprofits is a website designed to help people find trustworthy nonprofits through user reviews. Their mission is to help inspire and inform prospective donors and volunteers, by helping them differentiate between nonprofits; find ones that they trust, and be more confident in giving or signing up to volunteer.  They also strive to enable nonprofits, regardless of the size of their marketing budget, to harness their most authentic and most effective advertising- the stories of those they serve.

Pacific Primate Sanctuary is pleased to be recognized as a Top-Rated Nonprofit for the second year in a row!  The reviews about PPS were written by veterinarians, current and past volunteers, donors, individuals who have placed animals in our care, and many other supporters. We are deeply grateful for the encouraging, thoughtful words of the PPS community.  Reading the comments warms our hearts, and affirms our commitment to the precious beings in our care. These are some of the awe-inspiring comments written about Pacific Primate Sanctuary this year:

“PPS is a gift to the community and the world. It embodies the compassion and care for all creation that imbues all religious and humanistic traditions. The founder and all the volunteers are incredibly dedicated and skilled. PPS is a bright light in our troubled world.”

“Pacific Primate Sanctuary is exemplary in every way. It is in an extraordinarily beautiful environment, nurturing, humane and managed with much intelligence, sensitivity, love and caring.”

“I have had the privilege of working with the Sanctuary for over 15 years in a consulting role concerning the health of the monkeys. The facility is exemplary and its nutrition, husbandry, and preventive health program as well as any necessary health care, are far beyond what zoos can do for their animals. Their animals live to old age in a beautiful habitat where their physical and mental needs are met. The Sanctuary program is visionary for these animals…”

You can read (and write) more wonderful reviews at:



Donating to Pacific Primate Sanctuary can be as simple as doing an Internet search!  Visit GoodSearch.com and designate Pacific Primate Sanctuary as your charity of choice, and get started using this philanthropic program.  Each time you do a search using GoodSearch, a small contribution will be made to PPS!  Larger donations are made to PPS when you order from one of the many participating online stores, using GoodShop.

Goodshop is THE go-to place to find all those coupon codes and promo codes on the web for thousands of stores from AmazonSmile (please designate PPS as your nonprofit of choice), the Gap, Best Buy, Expedia, Target, Apple and more!  So, don’t ever miss a chance to save a bit of money. AND, when you click through from Goodshop, a percentage of what you spend is donated to Pacific Primate Sanctuary!  So, this holiday season, shop, save and give – for free!

Give the Gift of Your Service and Volunteer Your Time
We are currently in need of more local Volunteers! We need Animal Caregivers, Handy People, and Gardeners/Landscapers. Retirees are welcome. If you live on Maui and are interested in becoming one of Pacific Primate Sanctuary’s Angels, by volunteering your time and skills, please e-mail:  pps@pacificprimate.org

Gift Contributions
Many people do not enjoy the commercialism of the holiday buying binge and are searching for truly meaningful gifts.  We would like to offer a unique gift giving opportunity:
Gift Contributions can be made to Pacific Primate Sanctuary in the name of anyone on your holiday list. Your Gift Recipients will receive a beautiful Contribution Certificate showing you have made a donation in their name, along with information about PPS.  This thoughtful and significant present helps to feed and care for threatened, endangered and distressed primates.  Please go to our website for details:

How to Contribute Directly
We rely on and appreciate your continued partnership. Please make tax-deductible donations to the Sanctuary on our Website: www.pacificprimate.org and on FaceBook, using PayPal, or by sending a check to:                  
Pacific Primate Sanctuary
500-A Haloa Road
 Haiku, HI 96708

“Malama ‘Ola the Monkeys” and help us provide food, medicine and supplies for the monkeys at Pacific Primate Sanctuary and contribute to the care of the Beings with whom we share the Earth.

Welcome to New PPS Intern, Paolina!
Paolina arrived on October 14th to begin her Resident Internship at Pacific Primate Sanctuary.  She received a degree in Animal Biology in 2013 from the University of Guelph in Ontario.  Paolina spent several years working in veterinary clinics, as both a veterinary assistant and an animal care attendant in an emergency clinic.  She also has experience caring for wildlife native to Ontario at the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary.  Paolina is eager to expand her knowledge and abilities as a primate caregiver at Pacific Primate Sanctuary, and has already shown a deep commitment to learning all aspects of New World primate care. Welcome Paolina, we are so happy you have joined Team PPS!

Paolina writes:
I happily accept your kind offer of a position as a resident New World Primate Caregiver/Office Assistant at Pacific Primate Sanctuary (PPS). I was impressed with everyone whom I met during my interview and feel honored to be chosen to carry out a year-long tenure with PPS….

…I want to come to PPS for personal and professional growth as a wildlife rehabilitator. I believe that I will learn very much from the great minds and personalities of both humans and monkeys alike at your sanctuary. This internship provides me with a chance to develop my animal husbandry abilities, gain experience in primate care, and assist with the need for primate protection and rainforest conservation.

My goals for this internship are to learn all aspects of New World primate care as well as office and management responsibilities at PPS. I wish to make a significant contribution to your organization while learning a great deal from experienced interns and staff. I endeavor to share my skills in order to carry out PPS’s mission to protect and preserve threatened, endangered and distressed primates and their natural environments. I hope that the education and training obtained from PPS will allow me to provide optimum care for all the primates at the sanctuary, while enriching my skills as an animal caretaker in order to become an even better wildlife rehabilitator. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity.

A Hui Ho Katie

It is with deep sadness that we said farewell to Intern Katie last month, who returned Minnesota for medical reasons.  Katie was an outstanding Intern, and we are grateful for all that she contributed to PPS. She was a truly dedicated caregiver, deeply committed to the wellbeing of each individual in her care.  She arrived with no primate care experience, and left a well-rounded, highly educated, and intuitive Primary Animal Caregiver.  The animals’ needs always came first for Katie. Her positive, compassionate nature created a space full of Aloha for all the monkeys and volunteers.  Near the end of her Internship, Katie focused on revising, reorganizing and editing the PPS Manuals, to make them more user friendly and up to date so the future caregivers will have the benefit of Katie’s knowledge and expertise.   We greatly miss having Katie at the Sanctuary, and know that we will be with her again in the future.  

Katie Writes:
It has been an absolute pleasure working with such selfless individuals and I feel truly blessed to have spent time learning and growing with all of you. It is by no coincidence that the kinds of people who dedicate their time and lives to serving are some of the best people I have ever known. During my time here, there were some things that stood as especially poignant reminders of why we do what we do.

There are of course always the little, everyday moments. Sleepy couples poking their heads out of their sleeping cubes to watch you do evening walkthrough, or the moment immediately after breakfast has been distributed where everything is quiet except for the sounds of dozens of monkeys chewing. But there were also the rarer moments - cradling an ill marmoset in my hand as she passed, with nothing but the smell of lavender in the air and the sounds of her labored breath.  Processing the absolute heart break that followed and sharing it with my friends and colleagues who responded with so much compassion that it still takes my breath away.

And there were firsts, too, not just ends. The first time I saw Pacey the ex-pet being groomed by the partner that finally stuck, and watching how just being in contact with another monkey calmed him in a way nothing else ever could. Returning Artemis to her enclosure with her partner after a long battle with her kidney disease and watching from the sides as they greeted each other for the first time in months. It was through moments like these and interactions with our Volunteers, Interns, management, and everyone who comes through these doors that I was shown how it doesn’t matter what you do so long as you continue to strive for something bigger than yourself. I know that through my fellow Interns, of whom I am so proud, this philosophy will be kept alive and the monkeys will continue to flourish despite who comes and goes. I will miss every single one of you so much, and wish you all the very best.
All my love,


year- long internship program. We have had 35 Interns over the past 11 years and the curriculum has deepened and expanded over time. The Sanctuary’s education program is mutually beneficial, since the Interns provide a high level of animal husbandry and compassionate care to the 50 monkeys.

The PPS immersion Internship has become a coveted residency for students and professionals, worldwide.  With your support we will be able to provide this comprehensive training program and extensive experience to these dedicated students who will graduate with a profound understanding of the care, conservation, and rehabilitation of threatened and endangered animals.

The PPS Resident Internship would not be possible without the support of our caring Donors.  Funding for this essential program is needed in order to provide housing, utilities, and supplies for the Sanctuary’s 2016-2017 Resident Interns.

To find out how you can contribute to Pacific Primate Sanctuary’s Resident Internship Program, please email us at: pps@pacificprimate.org or donate now at: 

Special Topic: Intern Jordan
The Complete Capuchin: The Biology of the Genus Cebus
Chapter 5: The Body (Part 2)

Capuchins use their hands very differently than their platyrrhine (New World monkey) relatives, even though their hands lack any distinctive features when compared to other New World monkeys.  In humans, the thumb is critical in achieving precise control of objects. The “saddle joint” enables our thumbs to rotate so that its tip faces the tips of other digits, which allows us to have very strong grips and very fine movements. Capuchins lack the saddle joint and at first were classified to have pseudo-opposable thumbs. This means that when the hand picks up something small the thumb closes in parallel to the other digits in a power grip. The whole hand must move to shift the object when using this grip. Unlike humans, capuchins cannot just use the index finger and thumb to pick up the small object. Later it was found that capuchins are able to achieve precision grips in a variety of ways and are the only platyrrhine taxon that can do so.

There are two skeletal features that allow for the strength and precision grips that capuchins exhibit. Capuchins are fairly similar to Old World monkeys in the range of rotation that occurs at the wrist joint because of the geometry of the joint surfaces. This may support some degree of opposability between thumb and other digits. The second skeletal feature is a relatively deep carpal arch. This is associated with an arrangement of bones in the hand that would improve opposition as well as strength of digital flexors, which support strong grip on objects.

Capuchins have muscular and neural characteristics that relate directly to opposition and strong grip. They can oppose their thumbs to other digits through the rotation of the lower thumb bone. Capuchins have a deep layer of muscle that flexes the fingers (M. flexor digitorum profundus). This muscle contains a radial portion, which may move the thumb and forefinger separately from the other digits.

Capuchins use their hands for gathering insects, cracking open nuts and fruits, as well as grooming. All primates, and many other animals, groom themselves, but what is interesting is the fact that nonhuman primates groom other individuals as well. An individual grooming himself uses the same actions as an individual grooming another. They spread the fur with one or both hands and then use one hand to pick, scrape, or grab small objects in the hair or irregularities in the skin. Sometimes they even use their tongue or lips to touch the skin or hair. Some of the PPS staff have been fortunate enough to see Miracle and Prospero grooming one another. It’s a rare, but beautiful sight!

In addition to grooming, capuchins practice other self-care behaviors like fur-rubbing and urine-washing. These behaviors are shared with some other New World monkeys but are not common in other primate groups. Urine washing has multiple functions: hygiene, thermoregulation and response to irritation from biting ectoparasites. Urine washing begins with an individual urinating into the palm of one hand, and then rubbing it on the sole of the foot. Sometimes this is repeated with the other hand and foot. They will also use the hand or foot to rub or scratch another body part. At PPS urine washing is not observed as frequently as fur-rubbing.

Fur-rubbing, or anointing, involves an individual applying a substance, most often plant material (pulp, seeds, juice, oil from citrus skin) or tissues from a soft-bodied invertebrate, across a large section of the body using hands and tails. Some of the material that capuchins use function as insect repellant. Capuchins salivate excessively when fur-rubbing and will rub the excess saliva on their body along with the materials above. They engage in this activity with more enthusiasm than other primates that practice this behavior.

At Pacific Primate Sanctuary, we witness this enthusiasm on most mornings when we do the daily vinegar spraying of the capuchin enclosures. The main function of the vinegar is to kill any potentially harmful bacteria or viruses that the monkeys’ breakfast may come in contact with. But the vinegar serves a dual purpose. Both Prospero and Miracle can be seen using it for fur-rubbing. Since they also greatly enjoy using citrus for fur-rubbing, the capuchins will soon have a bounty from the PPS orchard, which will be producing an abundance of every imaginable citrus fruit, as we approach winter!


Special Topic: Intern Mady
Spider Monkeys: Behavior, Ecology and Evolution of the Genus Ateles
Locomotion and positional behavior of spider monkeys
Dionisius Youlatos

Their relatively large size, strong preference for fruits and leaves, prehensile tails made especially for grabbing and climbing, and suspensory locomotion make spider monkeys unique among New World monkeys. Spider monkeys use their large muscles and tails to move quickly over long distances. Their long forelimbs, strong hind limbs, and specially equipped tail help them to leap, drop, and position themselves in ways that are not seen with other New World monkeys.

Spider monkeys are specialists at leaping, dropping, and suspensory locomotion. Because the end of their tails have a grip-like pad, they can easily and comfortably grab onto branches and hang just by their tail. This suspensory locomotion is the most common form of movement for spider monkeys. Their tail acts like a third hand when climbing, or as an extended leg when reaching for things. Their tail-assisted brachiation, or the use of their arms and tail to swing through the jungle, is an especially efficient mode of transport. When there is a large gap between branches, they leap. Spider monkeys will become airborne, moving horizontally over a distance of 3 to 5 meters to get to their desired location. They are also capable of dropping down from the treetops quickly. They usually suspend themselves by their tails and then drop 1 to 3 meters to lower branches. Their rapid and efficient movements help them travel quickly to the ripest fruits in their territory.

Spider monkeys also typically position themselves in two different seated positions – the ischial sit and the non-ischial sit or squat. At Pacific Primate Sanctuary, spider monkey, Carlos, typically favors the squat during feeding time. He will often come to the feed platform and have his two legs on the bars with his tail grasping a higher bar. He then squats down and grabs the fresh fruit and vegetables in his bowl, putting most of his weight on his hind limbs and tail. This allows him to grab what he likes and quickly climb back up high to eat his food. His brother Montana, however, prefers the ischial sit. He will typically race to the feeding area, drop vertically from the mesh in his greenroom onto the feed platform, and sit completely on his rear. He enjoys sitting on the platform until he is satisfied. Both can be seen climbing, leaping and suspending from their tails each day, and their newly installed branches give them even more opportunity to leap, drop, suspend and, for the first time in their lives, to brachiate!


Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.

-Henry Ward Beecher

We hope you have enjoyed this issue of Pacific Primate Sanctuary’s E-Newsletter. Thank you for your support of our life giving work. Because of compassionate people, the Sanctuary can continue to provide a place of peace and happiness for primates saved from research laboratories, animal dealers, and tourist attractions. Here they can heal, form social groups, and live free from exploitation.

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