As I mentioned in my previous post, on Bigness's birthday we went to the Community Baboon Sanctuary in Bermudan Landing. We don't really have baboons here in Belize, but for some reason they call the big howler monkeys baboons.
The road is paved all the way. Just as we're approaching the bridge before we get to the village, Bigness pointed out 2 big baboons sitting on the right side of the bridge, waiting for us to pass before they crossed. He stopped the truck and we waited for the big monkeys to pass. The male probably weighed 20 lbs. Amazing creatures, and right next to the road in the wild, not behind a fence in the zoo. Beautiful and free with a black shiny long hair coat.
We went to the visitor's center which is plainly marked, to check it out and see where the trails were and found out that you can't just walk into the reserve you have to have a guide. O.K. SO, we paid the entrance fee of $5 each and a guide took us for a walk. I'm glad we had a guide or there would have been so much we would have missed, plus the trails are not right there at the center, theya re across the street and they are NOT MARKED. It would be real easy to get lost. This sweet,older Kriole man walked lightly and spoke quietly. As we entered the trails, he told us about the the flora in the area, cashews, mangos, what the monkeys eat, leaf and bark and stick and ting. The first family we saw was a big male with two wives and 4 children ranging in age from 4 months to 2 years old. At first I couldn't see anything, but only heard them, then as we stood there we could see movement way up in the trees and see leaves filtering down as the monkeys moved closer and closer. In the monkey world, its important for a male to have several wives to the continuation of the species. Bigness liked that idea.
Come Baby, come come come come, the guide said over and over, modulating his voice to a low grunt. The monkeys watched us, circling around. Come Baby, come come come, the little ones moved closer, but not close enough to touch. He opened up a mango and put it on a long stick and teased them closer and closer, until the littlest baby came close enough to feed by hand. Beautiful creatures. He handed me the mango and I held it up as high as I could and the baby monkey ate right out of my hand, curling his little fingers around my fingers.
We left this family and continued down the trail as the guide explained more about the ecosystem of the area. We could hear the roar of the howlers in the jungle all around us, it was an amazing sound. If you go on your own and decide not to hire a guide you will definitely see the monkeys but will miss out on all the rich information that only a local can provide. The jungle walk lasts about 45 minutes.
I am in awe of people that work with animals. We several men here on Caye Caulker that have this relationship with wild things. Ras Creek, Juni Saldivar, and let's not forget about Chocolate Heridia. The animals know them. If you ever go on one of their snorkel tours, they don't take you to the regular stops, but to their secret spots. Giant eagle rays as pets, manatees, sharks. Amazing.
Here's a link to the Belize Zoo website with more information about howler monkeys. http://www.belizezoo.org/zoo/zoo/mammals/how/how1.html
And speaking of sharks, fans singing my praises again:
Caye Princes Writes:
"Lee Vanderwalker of Caribbean Colors Art Gallery has been posting stuff on her blog which are insulting to lots of people on Caye Caulker. We would like to ask her to please not to post any further nonsense on her blog and she is also calumniating people’s characters which is not a good thing at all. So Lee, please grow up and write about yourself only as there are lots of things that people already know about you that you have not written about yourself to share on your blog."
Dear Caye Princess: Sounds like you have a personal problem and in typical small town anywhere fashion, nothing is said to my face, but to the people all around me, friends of friends of friends, but hey, thanks for the plug for my blog, the traffic you have stimulated is amazing. In the words of Bigness: If the crown fits the queen, then she should wear it.