Or more like, a feeding frenzy.
Ian and I have company in Barbados and we took them to the Barbados Wildlife Reserve. Although it is surrounded by a high fence, there are few caged animals, (I am glad the snakes are one of them), and all the animals (and you) can wander around. Of course nothing keeps the green monkeys in, and they come and go as they please.
There were numerous Tortoises in the reserve,
they are native to Barbados, but now there are more in the reserve then on the rest of the island.
According to the pamphlet, the Reserve has the best collection in the world. And they were everywhere, it became a game to spot them, as you would often walk by thinking it was a rock.
It also had a large population of Brocket Deer,
these are native to other Caribbean islands and were imported here. they are very small, 35-80 cm high, 60-144 cm long, and weigh 8-48 kg, unlike the white tail deer in Canada. They weigh 41-141 kg and are 68-114 cm high and 95-220 cm long. They are almost twice the size in Canada, so it was a surprise to see such small ones.
There is also the Mara,
a rodent looking like a cross between a deer and a rabbit.
We were lucky to see them as they are usually in burrows during the day.
Lots of birds, from macaws in cages to peacocks
ranged the grounds, and a snake house had iguanas as well.
But it was the monkeys that we really wanted to see. Originally from Africa, they were brought over many years ago, and have a huge population on the island. Although a lot of farmers find them a pest, and they can decimate some of the crops, they also have a very important purpose. The Sabin Polio Vaccine is a live virus prepared through the cells of the green monkey. One monkey can provide up to 2.5 million doses of the vaccine. The Barbados Primate Research Centre and Wildlife Reserve is responsible for up to 70% of the world’s polio vaccine. But, I have to confess, I think they are adorable. At 2:00, a wheelbarrow of food arrives, and the frenzy begins.
The first to arrive were the tortoises, (I think they start heading that way very early)
and the deer are not far behind.
But chaos and fun ensues when the monkeys arrive.
At first, everything is civilized, but then it starts to get crowded at the trough. So what is a poor monkey to do, whatever it can…
Even the rooster wants in on the act, doesn’t he realize no one is here to see him?
Aaah, a full tummy….