It is with great sadness that the DuMond Conservancy announces the death of one of our favourite primate friends, Peanut.
Peanut is survived by his loyal mate Betsey and several offspring; one of whom, Crunchy, still lives with Betsey. There was a small memorial service held for Peanut on Sunday, April 25th to celebrate his long, full life. The dedication of a small, colorful and edible garden will take place at a later date, in his memory.
Peanut was a red fronted owl monkey. Owl monkeys are unique because they are the world's only nocturnal monkeys and enjoy very cooperative family lives. Peanut was born in Peru many years ago but he left his homeland to join many other owl monkeys living in laboratories in the United States. He entered the U.S., as so many immigrants from Peru do, through Miami and spent years living in two laboratories: one in Alabama and the other in Atlanta. Twenty years ago he suffered a serious illness and he was retired shortly afterwards to the DuMond Conservancy in Miami.
When he arrived he was timid and frightened of all other owl monkeys until he met Betsey. Over the eighteen years they were together Peanut and Betsey were unusually closely bonded and had several offspring. Peanut was a devoted father, carrying and caring for them all. He was especially popular with our students and volunteers because he was extremely friendly and enjoyed sitting on our shoulders to enjoy a juice, grape or to groom someone's unruly curls.
These past few weeks Peanut, who had never been robust, began to look a little frail. Night time video footage however, revealed him to be active all night long, mainly following Betsey foraging for insects. Last week he fell suddenly ill and when our efforts to treat him were clearly not effective we returned Peanut to his home enclosure where Betsey nuzzled and held him until he slipped away.
Peanut was a wonderful asset to our community, who taught us compassion and what it means to be an owl monkey. We thank all those who loved and cared for him