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Monkey Magic at the Zoo

For sixteen years, Robin Brockett lived in Belize and pioneered howler monkey rehabilitation and release work.  Howler monkeys from this steadfast work still live, breed and have happy lives in the forests of Belize.  And Ms. Brockett did not keep her primate natural history knowledge to herself.  The current howler monkey program at WildTracks in northern Belize was initiated and kick-started by Robin.  Monkey Magic indeed!


Everyone at The Belize Zoo had big smiles when we learned that Robin was returning so that she could undertake projects involving both our spider and howler monkey troops.

Young spider monkey “Simone” was rejected by her mom from their family group when she was just three months old.  Little Simone was in need of training which would ensure her successful re-introduction back into the family group.

Out of all the primate species, spider monkeys happen to be ranked as one of the most intelligent.  They are highly capable of complicated thought processes.   This makes working with them a big challenge, to say the least.

Robin took on that challenge and worked daily with Simone. Spending hours with her, watching her behavior trends, and monitoring movements, paid off.    Today,  little Simone now comfortably lives in an area within sight and touch of her family group.  And in the near future, thanks to Robin’s work, we can assume that a successful introduction, Simone back with the clan, will happen.

The howler monkeys also benefited greatly from Robin’s time at the zoo. Right now, two very young howlers are part of the family troop, and this has caused a need for different monkey management techniques.

Robin devised a tunnel system where the monkeys, when called, enter and do a “monkey walk” thru these tunnels, ending up in their safe and secure management areas.   This is where they sleep safe and sound at night.  Training animals to adopt to new routines takes time and patience.  However, by the end of the week, howlers now happily entered their tunnel and headed for their sleep zones.

All of these important animal management techniques were shared with our zookeeping staff.   Thanks to this one week of Robin Brockett’s Monkey Magic, our staff is better trained to manage and care for these very special primates.  Thank you, Robin!

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