Peace Crane by Hilary Taylor

Peace Crane by Hilary Taylor
Picture by Justin Wyatt
To read Hilary's story buy this special book...

This magical story has a touch of the supernatural. When an injured crane is found and nursed, something happens, something magical and inspiring...

Gentle Footprints launched- AS SEEN ON TV

Gentle Footprints was officially launched Fri June 4th at the Hay Festival with guest speaker Virginia McKenna and some of the authors

Buy from Bridge House Publishing by clicking on the link BUY:


Virginia McKenna at Hay Launch

Virginia McKenna at Hay Launch

Animal Anthology To Raise Funds for Born Free

Bridge House Publishing announce new book coming Spring 2010. For more about Bridge House please see their website.
This book is the annual charity book for Born Free...if you want to get involved with promoting and selling this book- email me!

Visit the Born Free Website to find out more about their valuable work...

Visit the Born Free Website to find out more about their valuable work...

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Speaking the right language

Size: Head and body: Up to 22"/56cm
Tail: Can be body length again
Weight: 3-11 lbs/1.3-4.8 kg
Average life span in the wild: 20-25 years (up to 40 in captivity)
Diet: Omnivorous (fruit, nuts, seeds, insects, bird eggs, small birds)

Capuchins live in highly social groups of between six and forty members. In the wild they spend the day mainly in trees.

They have a long infancy with childcare shared within the group (males too). Then there's an extended pre-adult period: like us, they have a lot to learn. For survival they need to understand complex group dynamics and hierarchies. Important methods of communication they pick up at this time include body language, facial expression, social grooming and interactive play and vocalisation.

There are various subspecies within the category, with no final agreement on classification. Learning the right language seems to be crucial: when the monkey that inspired my story, a weeper capuchin, was rescued from the pet trade and placed in a sanctuary, he met another resident, a black capped capuchin, who greeted him with an excited high-pitched black cap greeting. This unfortunately was similar to an aggressive high-pitched weeper attack noise, and was interpreted as such. After that, the two never quite hit it off.

Pepito in my story is forced to live on the ground, alone, chained up. The tragedy of wanting to return him to the wild is that he has no social experience - doesn't know how to forage for his own food, won't understand the dangers from others of his kind as well as predators and doesn't know how to communicate.

More about these clever creatures tomorrow.


  1. Hi Gail,
    Great posts. Is it illegal to keep monkeys in the UK? If not it should be. I feel so sorry for them in captivity. It's no wonder they suffer from mental illness.

  2. Thanks, Mandy - No, not illegal. I was surprised too. Keepers of most primates need a licence under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act, though it seems a lot don't comply, and there's a new code of conduct setting out their needs in detail. Steps in the right direction but I agree an outright ban would make more sense.