I’ve never been to South America, and I did not want to fly there.
Some acquaintances had promised me that they had a colony of native monkeys in their garden, so I was immediately curious.
The house was ca. 50 kilometers outside of Sao Paulo, which means for the South American standards, a pure odyssey this journey.
I waited two days for the monkeys, but there were only occasional sporadic appearances of them.
And then … on my mobile phone I got the message of a good friend who lives in the neighboring country of Paraguay, that in his mother’s house a large roaring monkey colony had formed, with more than 10 animals, young and old.
It should be the howler monkeys that live only in Paraguay.
The trip to Brazil was over, I came to Paraguay on the third day.
Again with a travel odyssey of more than 60 kilometers drive outside the capital, Asuncion.
The friend’s mother was 82, and came from the area. She had three cats, two of which were emaciated, and had eye infections and illnesses.
She fed her with food leftovers, which is normal for the prevailing mentality.
The monkey colony was big, indeed!
The animals came to the trees only when it was warm, and they came out very often, because that winter had very pleasant temperatures there.
I spent a lot of time rehearsing our ancestors, I found everyone very interesting.
The locals had already noticed the animals, but the only interest in them was whether they could eat the animals.
The colony consisted of 10 people, small, medium and large.
The boss was a black man with a dominant voice and statue who all threatened to come close to the family.
Some female monkeys had recently been recruited and therefore did not come down.
In the garden there were plenty of bananas, mangos, passion fruit, oranges … it was a beautiful garden. I have not offered any animal any of this. They should stay on top of the trees, and not come into direct contact with the other monkeys the “Naked Monkeys”.
Playing together was the most important part of their life. They used their tail as a hedge around the branches, and could hang like that for minutes while eating some fruit at the same time.
I did not manage to trick anybody until the last day.
I hid between the bamboos to take pictures of them, but they discovered me immediately, and the reward was an outstretched tongue!! I came from the back to take pictures of the whole family but the boss immediately put his fists to his chest and said, “Huh, huh, huh ..” signals that I should leave his family alone.
In the country you can see many dogs and cats, they are free and do not belong to anyone.
They live with humans, but not together with humans.
The only difference I could see with other countries was, that the animals in Paraguay are not directly mistreated, like in Spain or Greece (where I was).
They feed them with scraps of food when they have them, and the animals sleep next to the road, or in some stable. Nobody cares about them when they get sick. But nowhere have I observed a direct mistreatment of pets.
The only animals that live tethered in Paraguay are the cows. In the sun, in the rain, in the wind. All cows that are in the meadows are tethered. In the evening they are moved, the owners bring them to the stable. I asked why they do it this way: “otherwise they will be stolen, and we need our cows, they are our capital,” was the answer.
I started from the first day with the treatment of domestic cats. One had to get antibiotics, the other worming cure, and both eye drops. The old woman (and owner of the cats) could not understand that. She did not help, she did not want to know why I did it.
We were separated with universes in our principles and empathy about animals.
I discovered a dirty chicken coop late, at the end of the property, where there were two specially bred chickens. For meat.
They could not walk, they had no feather around half the body and both had signs of cannibalism at the back of their heads.
When I asked the woman, “why don`t you let them out? You have 2 hectares of land here”. She replied,” I’m scared that the neighbors will steal them from me. ”
“But everyone has chickens here, and even free,” I said.
“Yes, but these are special chickens, they have good meat,” she said.
“And who slaughters them?” I asked.
One hour before I left, I left the door of the chicken coop open. And a note on it saying, “Un regalo para tus prisioneros, segnora” (A poison for your prisoners, segnora).
I will remember for a long time my short friendship with the monkeys, with the three cats, with the two captive chickens …
I’m very worried about how they are.
Today and here I think: we have no right to claim that we have evolved when when we treat animals like slaves.
The fact that we are no longer living on the trees does not make us a better race and does not prove any development in the morale and logic of our species. We have remained arrogant, cruel and brutal about living together with other beings.
We are just the “nude monkeys” and nothing more.
With my best regards to all, Venus