Yellow-tailed Woolly Monkey is a rare primate found only in
the Peruvian Andes where they live in rough terrain in the cloud
forest. They are arboreal and diurnal and adult males can reach
sizes of 51.3 to 53.5 cm with tails even longer than the body and
can weigh as much as 11 kg. Their fur is longer and denser than
other woolly monkeys which is an adaptation to its cold mountain
habitat. They are deep mahogany and copper with a whitish patch
on their snout extending from the chin between their eyes. Their
fur gets darker towards their upper body, making their head seem
almost black. Their powerful prehensile tail is capable of supporting
their entire body weight and it also uses its tail to help move
through the canopy. They have been known to leap 15 metres. They
live in large mixed social groups of approximately 23 individuals
and they have a multiple-male group social system and a polygamous
mating system. For all that, they have low reproductive rates and
long inter-birth intervals, which adds to their vulnerability for
extinction. They express aggressive behaviors upon initial encounters
such as branch shaking, showing their buttocks, and making short
barking calls. Their diet is primarily frugivorous, but they also
eat leaves, flowers, insects and other invertebrates. Oddly, they
also engage in geophagy, or the consumption of soil. Geophagy is
a rare biological behavior but the species benefits from this tendency
since it allows for the intake of minerals and the detoxification
of the intestinal region of parasites and other diseases. Perhaps
related to the fact that they tend to suffer from an iron deficient
diet, their consumption of soil allows iron that they do not get
from their regular diet. Although, like most primates, the Yellow-Tailed
monkey has low birth rates, their main threats are all human-related.
The last estimated population count was less than 250 individuals,
largely because of the loss of habitat due to slash and burn agriculture.
Afraid of losing their farmland to conservation efforts of the species,
a rising population of farmers say they do not hunt the monkeys
but that the land is necessary for growing coffee and raising cattle.
The construction of new roads, habitat loss and fragmentation from
agriculture, logging and cattle ranching, and subsistence hunting,
together with the monkey's naturally low population densities, slow
maturation, low reproductive rate, have led to a predicted decline
of at least 80% over the next three generations. They are considered
one of the world's 25 most endangered primates.
Here is where I drive the Predator.
The controls are like any joy stick:
You learn to keep the hand relaxed,
Use the wrist. Here
I can fire the missiles. You have
To be ready for the kick,
The loss of the extra weight,
Since you cannot feel it: just know
When to compensate. I manage
Air speed, altitude, turns, all
From this distinct, distant black leather chair.
I am a pilot,
But it is more like a video game
Where the graphics are replaced by pictures.
There has been some thought
That if the pictures were more like graphics
A pilot could better relax, fly
As in a game, drop his inhibitions and decide
To focus simply on winning, to concentrate
Alone on having his Avatar
Knock out the opposing, evil Avatar.
Pictures put more decision into target acquisition.
The main worry, outside
Of mechanical failure, is jamming;
But on average our opponents are too
Primitive for that, and are lucky
To have even light armor, sparse large caliber fire,
And a moment of recognition shared from God's idleness.
They usually cannot win with that.
Their game is over before they even reach for the tokens.
Ken Poyner has lately been seen in Analog
, Café Irreal
The Journal of Microliterature
, Blue Collar Review
many wonderful places. His latest book of bizarre short fiction, Constant
, is available from his web, www.kpoyner.com
and from amazon.com
He is married to Karen Poyner, one of the world’s premier power lifters,
and holder of more than a dozen current world power lifting records. They
are the parents of four rescue cats, and two senseless fish.