Archive | October 2013

The Pensive Macaques of Gilbraltar~

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Although often referred to as Barbary Apes, the macaques aren’t apes at all, but vestigal-tailed, old world monkeys, called Barbary Macaques. The earliest skeleton found of a Barbary Macaque was carbon dated to the 3rd century BC. There is a thriving population of about 300 macaques in Gibraltar in five separate troops. They are descended from North African Barbary Macaques. The wild population in North Africa varies in estimate but is somewhere around 12,000.

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I was struck by their faces, they looked extraordinarily wise, but also, sort of world-weary, and well, sad to me. I’ve seen monkeys in the wild, but these ones seemed more bummed-out.

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Look in their eyes. Do you see this quality?

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Even the babies looked sort of stressed-out.

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These images have stayed with me, so I just looked into it, and learned this, “the groups of macaques normally exposed to tourists have elevated levels of anxiety,” due to “aggressive interactions” with tourists. There is a ban on feeding the macaques, but tourists fed them M & M’s and junk food when I was there, encouraged the monkeys to jump on them and shrieked at them when they did so. Taxi cab drivers fed them junk food to encourage them to jump on their cars and then drove with them on the car. If it was disturbing to me, I can imagine how the macaques must feel about this day after day.

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The Macaques are free. Sort of . I learned they are fed a nutritious diet daily and I saw this. They are caught “regularly” to check their health status, weighed and photographed. Each monkey is given a tattoo and a micro-chip. Their reproduction is monitored.

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I also found out this un-fun fact, “Since Barbary macaque females reproduce well, the population on Gibraltar is steadily increasing, which in turn puts pressure on the limited habitat. Animal population control is therefore an essential part of the effective management of the population.[23] In 2008 a small group of macaques that had (been) permanently relocated to the Catalan Bay area were culled.”
All this “management” sounds stressful to me. Particularly because they are intelligent creatures and may well know what is going on.

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Wild populations of macaques have suffered a major decline in recent years and they are now classified as an endangered species. Truly wild macaques live in Algeria, Morocco and Libya. Macaque habitat is being destroyed by logging and farming, they are poached in the wild, and caught for smuggling as pets.

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Written between 1605 and 1610, Alonso Hernández del Portillo, the first chronicler of Gibraltar, wrote:
“But now let us speak of other and living producers which in spite of the asperity of the rock still maintain themselves in the mountain, there are monkeys, who may be called the true owners, with possession from time immemorial, always tenacious of the dominion, living for the most part on the eastern side in high and inaccessible chasms.”
Let’s make sure we protect our intelligent cousins, these “true owners” of the rock, who have possessed it from “time immemorial” and treat them with the respect and dignity they deserve wherever we encounter them. They deserve at least this much from us.

References:

http://www.um.es/eubacteria/Macaca_sylvanus.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbary-macaque

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbary_macaques_in_Gibraltar

Purple Mountains Majesty~

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Canada’s glorious mountains (please click to enlarge).
What type of scenery do you most like to look at? If you built your dream home, what would the view be of?

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Most people say either the ocean or mountains.

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But some enjoy a cityscape, or the quiet expanse of an empty prairie . Some prefer the rolling hills of rural life, or the ordered borders of farming country. Some must look on pine forests, or desert hues, and others on a tropical sea. How about you? What do you prefer?

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I have always built my ideal home in my mind as a way to relax and manage stress. It helps to visit there when one is tense. I did this both times I had surgery and each time I was able to sail away from the hospital room and into my sanctuary. Much like a bucket list it also helps to focus your attention on what you really want in life.

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I guess it is not a surprise that I ended up moving to a place that is similar to what I always imagined. And just like a bucket list, when you achieve one dream, you can always add more! Now I imagine a different type of place when I wish to escape.

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I love the empty rolling hills of Holler life. I love our stream and sunsets, and our wild ones. I wouldn’t trade them.
But, now I go to the mountains in my mind.
I crave the peaks filled with snow, and the smell of pine and the pine needles crunching underfoot. I miss the forest creatures, and a glimpse of bears or wolves.

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So now, when I wish to relax, I build a cabin in the woods, amidst the pines and peaks, and enjoy my visits there.
I hope you spend time with your dreams.
Who knows, they may just come true!
Cheers to you from The Holler~

Natures Jewels!

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These are my favorite jewels! (Click to enlarge).

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Whenever I go on a trip, I worry about the hummingbirds.

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I am always relieved to find them hale, hearty, and bickersome!

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How long can I force myself to go without posting about The Holler Hummingbirds?

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Just about as long as my trip!

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I can’t resist them!

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Can you?

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Cheers to you from all The Holler Hummers (and their dutiful human!)

Fall Fell!

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The Aspens are showing their true colors.

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And Banff National Park is holding it’s breath waiting for winter.
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The air is bracing now with chill.

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Its time for the bears to sleep, and Jim and I to head home to The Holler.

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We must leave before snow blankets the park and avalanche threats make the roads a challenge.

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Cheers to you from the last days of autumn!

Our Little Cabin in the Big Woods!

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The Main Lodge

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Our rented Trappers Cabin. Really one room en suite with a tiny kitchenette.

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Entry.

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The interior and exterior details are exceptional. Old shotgun rack.

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A good place to blog.

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Looking out the front door.

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This is a hand-carved inlaid storage chest/coffee table.

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The bed is made of lodge poles with a buffalo light headboard.

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The backyard! A good place to chill out and swing and wait for critters to come and drink. You can see the cabin through the trees.

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You never know who might amble on by!

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Cheers to you from our little cabin in the big woods!

“The Tonic of Wildness..”

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“We need the tonic of wildness.” Henry David Thoreau

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“It is not what you look at that matters, but what you see.”

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“All good things are wild and free.”

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He may be broken, but he is not defeated.

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Next season he may survive to fight again and win his harem.

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But until then he is alone.

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“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

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Photos taken the last few days in Yoho and Banff National Parks.

Quotations are all Henry David Thoreau.

Hope you take some time to go, “Where the Wild Things Are,” (Maurice Sendak).

Like Thoreau, you may just find your real self.

Cheers to you from our cabin in the Canadian Woods!