As a child, Howard Cohen always wanted to have a monkey. And many decades ago, as a young man, he did have pet monkeys. He adored them. And they taught him the special little noises to make with your lips and tongue that woolly monkeys love and want to snuggle up to. Once, he was at the zoo and a baby woolly monkey had panicked and run away from a crowd. He made those special noises and it came to him!
Then of course Howard came to realize - as awareness became more public - all the damage and cruelty of the exotic pet trade, and he didn't want to be part of that. But he still loves monkeys and apes, and woolly monkeys are his special favorite.
Woolly monkeys belong to the genus of New World monkeys Lagothrix. New World monkeys are the only primates to have prehensile tails. They are arboreal, and the special tails allow them to grasp objects or dangle from branches using only their tail. The woolly monkey is best known for its round head and dense fur, brown, red-brown, gray or olive-colored.
Howard and Alison have been in search of monkeys on some of their vacation trips. Costa Rica has three kinds, and they saw two. The white-faced capuchins are very curious and quite common, so of course they made friends with one right away. They also saw - and heard! - some howler monkeys.
Alison is from the UK, and on her last trip she made a special reservation to tour a monkey rescue sanctuary, Monkey World. This place is really special. They have many different species of apes and monkeys - all are rescues from the pet, photo and lab worlds. They now have a good life in large enclosures with lots of fresh air and trees.
As part of saying goodbye to the bookstore, Howard wanted to have a little fun, and raise awareness of his favorite animal at the same time. We brought a couple of our stuffed toy monkey collection to the store to decorate things a bit. And during our last two weeks, anyone who mention the secret code – "woolly monkey" – got to pick out a book for free.