A day with the Barbary macaques (Module C), by Marije Suelmann

Marije dando de comer a los macacos de Berbería

Rrrring, at 7.30am my alarm goes off and I am getting ready for another day at Primadomus!

Around 8.10am the volunteers from the other volunteer flat are picking us up with the volunteer van and we drive together to Primadomus.

Today I work at module C, where the Barbary Macaques live. We start the morning with a short meeting for the day and then we start working. The morning is a lot of cleaning because Barbary macaques can make a mess of it. Around 10am we are feeding. In the module we have a bell and when we ring it all the monkeys know they are getting food so they start to scream really loud. It almost looks like a football stadium where one of the football player is going to score J. After feeding we continue with cleaning and at 11am we have our own food time.

After the break we finishing cleaning and start around 1pm with feeding the lunch. Also for lunch we ring the bell and again the Barbary macaques are screaming really loud. Then it’s time for our own break! We have an hour lunch break and it’s amazing to sit in the sun outside because it’s sunny a lot of days a year. Even in winter there are some really sunny days.

Macaco de Berbería en caja, enriquecimiento
One of the macaques enjoying 'his' box.

After our lunchbreak it’s time to prepare the enrichment and do other stuff like your own project. We make rice, compot and popcorn to put in the enrichment or we are using straw, seeds, rosemary and other smelly things. The Barbarys are most of the time really excited to use the enrichment and the moment we give it to them they start to use it. Today I gave one of the Barbarys a really big cardboard box with some straw and seeds inside (it was bigger than the Barbary) and the Barbary went completely inside to get the seeds out of it. It was so nice to see how the Barbary was using the enrichment.

At the end of the day we also have some time to watch at the animals. We can see how they behave and if they are grooming each other. This is really nice to do because with observing them you can see their behaviour but also you learn to know them by small specific things. At the beginning they all look the same but in the end (even after 3 weeks) you already see the difference between them and that is really nice to know.

At 5pm it’s time to feed the dinner and after we go home ourselves to take some rest, have a drink and prepare for the next day.

Marije Suelmann, volunteer at AAP Primadomus.