It's no secret that i get tickled pink at the chance to teach people a word in english they've never heard before. However in my last two days at the lodge I found myself teaching a word to some guides and staff that i wish i didn't have to teach, the word "habituated".
This all began two days before i left when a girl came up to the lodge with a tiny monkey clinging to her. It was then that the whole story came out. She had bought the baby monkey for about $5 USD and had been keeping it as a pet for 6 mths. After some soul searching and hearing that Tahuayo helps with rehabilitation, she handed the monkey over to the people at the lodge.
The monkey is set to join Dorilla and Chippa at the research centre but before that happens there needs to be some serious rehabilitation work that needs to be done. This baby monkey had become too habituated to humans and lacked skills and behavior of its own species.
So the staff at the lodge set a plan into motion to prepare this monkey for life in the wild and not as someones pet. It was decided that every afternoon the monkey would be brought out and have practice climbing at a nearby tree. It had been kept on the floor of someones home and fed the wrong diet so there was work that needed to be done.
The first afternoon the guides brought her out and put her in a tree to practice. Initially she could climb but didn't want to and kept coming down the tree. But by the end of her session she was climbing higher and higher and was taking her first step towards behaving more like her wild counterparts.
Unfortunately in Iquitos this is all too common. Every animal sanctuary has signs warning people to never buy a baby monkey as a pet. Because the person who sold the monkey likely killed the mother and buying from them is just fueling the industry.
As cute as the baby monkey was swinging from limb to limb and licking insects from its fingers, a thought came to my mind that i couldn't shake off. Which word in the dictionary did i feel a growing disdain for, the word "habituated" or "anthropomophize"?