Interview with Emperor Tamarin Monkey
Interview with Emperor Tamarin Monkey
I did not have to travel far to interview the Emperor Tamarin monkey – the Palm Beach Zoo in Florida has a large collection of these agile little monkeys.
I selected the largest, strongest-looking one, and utilizing my supernatural communication skills, here is what I learned.
me – Good afternoon, Mr. Tamarin. Would you mind answering a few questions?
Tamarin monkey – You are just like all the rest of your kind. Making assumptions based on size and facial hair.
I am a female tamarin monkey. You have the honor of speaking to the matriarch and leader of this group. You may call me Tamara.
me – Please forgive me. I apologize for that false assumption. It must have been your flowing, beautiful white moustache …
Tamara – Don’t grovel – it’s a mistake most visitors make. All Emperor Tamarin monkeys, both male and female, possess this abundant white facial hair.
me – It’s easy to see how the Emperor Tamarin monkey got its name. With your long, flowing, elegant white moustaches you do resemble the former German monarch, Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany.
Tamara – You mean the Emperor looked like us. Right?
me – Right! Where was your home before?
Tamara – You mean before we were kidnapped and forcibly brought to America? We were happy and content as we frolicked and raised our families in the tropical rainforests of Brazil, Peru and Bolivia in South America.
Footnote: Swiss zoologist, Emilio Goeldi, gave the tamarin monkey (saguinus imperator) the nickname of ‘emperor’ as a joke. Goeldi is long gone but the name remains.
me – Are all Emperor Tamarin monkeys as vocal and ‘in-your-face’ as you?
Tamara – Only the matriarchs – the oldest and strongest females. We need to be more forceful and powerful to rule our groups. Like Hilary Clinton. [laughing]
me – [amazed] You are familiar with U.S. politics?
Tamara – Of course. Isn’t everyone? Except the members of Congress! [more hysterical laughter]
me – [changing the subject] Do those two adorable baby monkeys with you also have names?
Tamara – Those are my youngest – the twins, Chip and Dale.
me – Is that a tiny green tree frog they are teasing?
Tamara – [yelling at them] Boys! Stop playing with your food this instant! Eat it NOW!
me – Youngsters are the same all over the world. What other delicacies make up your diet?
Tamara – In the wild, an ordinary meal consists of insects – crickets are my favorite – plants, fruits, snails and tree nectar. We supplement that with frogs, tiny rodents, and baby reptiles.
A special treat are the eggs we find in birds’ nests.
me – You rob birds of their eggs?
Tamara – I prefer to use the term that we appropriate them. It is a jungle out there, you know.
me – You mentioned that your youngsters are twins. Is that unusual?
Tamara – Not at all. Twin births are common to our species.
Cute Plush Monkey
me – You called yourself the matriarch of the group. What are the responsibilities of this role?
Tamara – Each troop of Emperor Tamarin monkeys usually has from four to eight members – mostly male. As the leader, I am the Queen Bee utilizing all the adult males for cohabitation, if you know what I mean.
Only one female – me – in the group breeds.
All the members of the group including the adult males help with baby care during the day by carrying them around except when they are suckling. As the matriarch, I do much of the foraging for food because of my unique vision. [proudly]
me – Which is?
Tamara – I am a trichomat – I can see three colors. This allows me to detect ripe fruit easier than my compatriots who are dichromats and can only detect two colors.
Tamarins staring at visitors at the San Francisco Zoo
me – Since you are a relatively small species of monkey and appear to weigh less than a pound, there must be a number of predators you have to avoid.
Tamara –Fortunately, we Emperor Tamarins are extremely agile in avoiding predators like wild cats, dogs, snakes and hawks. Our biggest problem is humans who are destroying our natural habitat with logging and land development.
me – You seem to be popular though with a number of humans who are exotic pet collectors.
Tamara – That’s true because we are very social animals accustomed to mutual grooming. In captivity, we are very interactive with humans.
me – I have noticed how you all appear to enjoy being stroked and petted by humans.
Tamara – We have a need for tenderness, and will complacently lie on our backs in order to indicate to our caretakers that we would enjoy more special attention – like domesticated pussy cats.
me – Thank you, Tamara, for sharing all this interesting information. May you continue to thrive.
Tamara – Forgive my initial aggressive stance and brusque demeanor – it goes with the job. Vaya con Dios.
me - As a matriarch myself - without your perks - I understand. [laughing]
© Copyright BJ Rakow, Ph.D. 2014. All rights reserved. Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So."