I hope you don't think some of the pictures I've chosen for this week are a bit samey. I wanted to show capuchins in their proper environment in the forest. This one just breaks my heart thinking about Jessy from yesterday... She should have been up there too.
Back to symbols: traditionally the monkey is considered symbolic of mischief, mimicry and deceit, but also admired for its cleverness, curiosity and inventiveness. A pattern emerges of intelligence vs roguishness.
For example, the Hindu monkey god Hanuman was renowned for his courage and faithful selfless service but in his youth he abused his powers to pester the saints living in the nearby forest.
Then, in African folklore a monkey sits in a tree and teases a lion. The monkey is aware of the powerful and predatory nature of the lion but can control it by guile and intelligence.
Dream symbology suggests the monkey stands for lust, self-satisfaction and trickery or fragility, inspiration, a sense of freedom and capacity to imitate.
It seems to me that although we interpret them as being mischievous, it's just monkeys being themselves - and perhaps we're a bit jealous of their freedom. Last year Born Free was involved in an operation to translocate up to 200 primates that had been living in and around the grounds of the presidential office in Lusaka, Zambia. The animals - vervets and baboons - were escaping on to the nearby golf course, hotel, local residential properties and embassies in the area and were being considered a "nuisance". The last straw for the president seems to be when one peed on him during a press conference (to much hilarity). It was estimated that the whole translocation process would cost US$50,000 and would involve predator avoidance training and exposure to naturally occurring fruits and seeds. (Photos from Sky News.)
More tomorrow about returning captives to the wild.