Friday, September 19, 2008

Another New Kid in the Family...

Here's our World Wildlife Federation adoptee for this month - a Douc Monkey, who comes from the tropical forests in China and Southeast Asia. As usual, they're endangered due to habitat loss and illegal pet trade. Doucs are considered one of the most beautiful of all primates because of their brilliant and striking coloration. There are three species of Doucs found in the Greater Mekong - the red-shanked (like our guy), the black-shanked and the grey-shanked. The Grey-Shanked Douc is one of the world's 25 most endangered primates. Some interesting stuff: Like all monkeys, Doucs are social animals and live in groups. Their remarkably long tails, which, in some cases, are as long as their entire body height, are not prehensile, but are used solely for balance. They are aerial specialists - very agile, frequently making breathtaking leaps of up to 20 feet - pushing off from a branch with their feet, leaping with their arms over their heads and landing feet first on another branch. They live most of their lives in the upper and middle canopy of trees, rarely descending to the ground. Perhaps for this reason, they don't drink water, but acquire needed moisture from their food. I really like the face of this critter - he looks so Zen - very wise and content. He lives on the organ in my studio, and keeps me calm when my practice sessions get hairy.

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