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Tales from Los Cabos – One More Excerpt

For a few days I have been thinking of sharing another excerpt of my book, and this will be the last one 😉 I can’t publish too many excerpts. Two will do just fine, I think. 😉 This one is very different from the last story, which delved into the lives of the six girls at the club information desk. Now, we will dive into Mathilda’s world. Mathilda is a little spider monkey who won my heart many years ago. Mathilda and I share a lifelong friendship and whenever I see her, she gives me a loving hug.

mathilda-hug

Mathilda hugging me at the sanctuary

I decided to include Mathilda’s (true) rescue story on my blog, because it is a story that is close to my heart, and Mathilda is one of those beautiful souls that touched me in this lifetime. She and I are friends for life.

Spider monkeys are truly amazing animals. They have the highest intelligence among primates and according to a spider monkey expert I met during my rescue mission, they understand much of what we humans say. Because of Mathilda I also met other rescued spider monkeys, and with some of them I established beautiful bonds; or shall I say, they initiated a bond with me. They chose me to be their friend, which was a great honor to me. They are unforgettable, and I hope that I’ll be able to visit them again soon.

So, here it is, a small excerpt from Mathilda’s story

Mathilda’s Flight

She was a cute little thing, swinging from that little branch or hanging upside down from the pink cloth that was attached to the branch. A scrawny, little spider monkey with a single branch that belonged to no tree. Instead, the wood was attached to metal bars and the ground was not the soft, moist soil of the rain forest, but a stark cement floor. That cage was Mathilda’s world. She couldn’t do much in there, besides swinging from the pink cloth or pacing her small prison cell. She could see some of the other animals that shared her fate, all locked in similar cells or in tiny enclosures, condemned to a life of boredom and loneliness.

Mathilda

Mathilda used to have cellmates, but they had all perished over the years and now she was the only spider monkey left, all alone in her cage, with no one to play with. She would often stand there and stare out over the ground or just sit morosely in a corner. Sometimes she would resume her endless swinging, but it never took her anywhere, it was always the same old branch.

Humans came from time to time and gawked at her through those bars. Their children pointed at her and made comments about her. Mathilda did not always like all visitors, but she approached a few. Some of the humans gave her snacks. Others held small gadgets up at her which flashed bright lights. Some humans were horrified at the barren cage with the cement floor, and they looked at her with compassion in their eyes, knowing that she wasn’t happy where she was, but she had long learned that they couldn’t help her. They would go home and not return.

One day a new visitor came, a woman with a mane of golden curls on her head. Mathilda felt her compassion too, but there was something unusual. This human spoke to her. She didn’t utter any of those silly baby sounds, neither did she shriek in delight when Mathilda made some funny movements. She spoke to her, and the monkey listened while studying her face and unruly hair.

Mathilda-holds-hand

She told her a story about a tiger she had seen in this zoo many years ago, an emaciated tiger with whom the woman had bonded. He had spent his time pacing his cell, from left to right, one side to the other, again and again, never ever stopping, ignoring the humans who came to stand around his cage and gaze at him. He never gave anyone the dignity of even a brief glance. He did not care. However, he cared about the curly-haired woman. The first time she came, a man accompanied her, and when the tiger saw her with him, he stopped pacing, stared at the man and growled at him menacingly, satisfied how easily he had frightened the human.

tigerWhenever the man got too close to the woman, the tiger threatened him, and he even once positioned himself in attack mode, which the woman recognized. The man urged her to leave, not trusting the hole below the cage which could likely be enlarged by some serious digging. They left soon after, but the woman returned a week later, alone. The tiger was pacing again, ignoring the humans that gawked at him. When the woman arrived, he felt her presence, looked up, and walked over to her. The other humans had already left, and they were alone now. The woman took a seat on a bench near the cage and the tiger lay down by her side, separated by the bars and wire. They were so close that she could touch him.

A bond grew between them and she came to see him often, her heart bleeding for his misery and hunger, but glad that he somehow found some sort of harmony in her presence – as little as it was. She made the long drive nearly every weekend, to spend some time with him. Every time she visited the tiger, he would stop pacing and look into her eyes, without any menace. His eyes conveyed his understanding of her compassion and love. They had bonded, and he trusted her. She was the only one he felt at peace with, and wherever she sat, he would lie at her feet, content and relaxed.

One day, the woman made him a promise. She always felt terrible at the sight of his bones protruding through his skin and the desolation of his life. She promised him that she would get him out of there. She didn’t know how and when, but she was going to do it. She continued visiting him, but one day she stopped coming.

Mathilda understood much of what humans told her, and she remembered that tiger. He had died many years ago, all alone, skin over bones, withered away in his cage. The woman already knew that, and she was heartbroken over it. She had been unable to keep her promise to him, but she made a vow to keep her promise in his honor and make it her mission to get Mathilda and all the other animals that were languishing in their cells out of there. She gave the spider monkey her name, Mathilda.

coatimundi

Felix

She also went to see the other animals and bonded with several of them, but Mathilda knew that she was her special friend, she and Felix, the coatimundi. Felix sometimes cried when the woman left, he was very attached to her. Even the coyotes, who were shy and terrified of visitors, gazed at the woman with curiosity, realizing that she was there to do something for them. The female always remained in the back of her cell, but after a few months, the male dared get a little closer and stood in the middle of the cage, hesitantly looking at her, wanting to approach but still too frightened.

The woman told Mathilda everything. She told her how hard it was. She spoke about many things Mathilda didn’t understand, a petition, signatures, a Facebook page to help them, emails, letters, phone calls, long drives to the state’s capital, fighting the mayor, meetings, etc. Mathilda wasn’t sure what it all meant, but she understood that all these things were done to help her.

mapache-raccoon

When the woman was there, Mathilda always took her hands or her arms in hers and for good measure she also rolled her tail around her arm, holding the woman in a loving embrace, as much as the chain link allowed it. They spent a lot of time together. Sometimes she watched the woman walk around the zoo and count the animals, check their water and food, and note if anything was wrong or if the number of animals dwindled, but she always reserved special time for her little friend Mathilda.

It took a long time, a year and a half, but Mathilda had faith. Only once did the woman fail her. Her cage door was unlocked. The woman had not noticed, but Mathilda had, and she was eager to point it out. She moved her fingers towards the place where the lock hung. She could not reach it, but she knew that the human could. The woman stared at the open lock, not believing what she saw, and the thought of opening it must have crossed her mind. Mathilda hoped that she would do it, now that she had realized her chance of escape. Surely, she would let her out? But that day the woman disappointed her deeply. She didn’t open the door.

lock

source: pixabay

She told her that she couldn’t do that; it would ruin her campaign and it would get her in trouble. She explained that they had to do it the right way, not take foolish risks and jeopardize everything. Mathilda was sad and angry, and she turned away from her, showing her displeasure. This had been her opportunity and the woman had wasted it … Why could she not have opened the door? It would have been so easy … but all she did was hold that little gadget to flash a light at the open lock, telling her that she needed to take pictures for evidence. Mathilda did not care about that. The woman was sorry, and she knew it. She felt bad, and the little monkey understood then that she wanted nothing more than to free her right there but was afraid to do so.

“Please trust me,” she pleaded. Mathilda did as she asked, placing her faith in this woman that she had grown to love.

****************

I hope you like this small excerpt. It is very different from my last one, and throughout the book I made sure to avoid same or similar patterns in stories. Every tale is different, and sometimes there’re even different genres. If you’d like to see more tales from Los Cabos, this wonderful place in the Mexican Baja peninsula, just open my book and dive into my memories (and some fiction too) 🙂

spidermonkey-Renee

Me and spider monkey baby rescue Renée, she had just arrived at the sanctuary. 

 

Spoiler alert: I never give away spoilers, but I’ll add this one, because I know that the photos in this article are sad, and I just want to reassure my readers that all animals have been rescued from that horrible situation. The zoo where Mathilda and the other animals were kept is closed, and the animals have either been relocated to sanctuaries or rehabilitated and released into the wild. Mathilda is living in a beautiful sanctuary in Mexico, and the last thing I heard is that she even has a boyfriend now, a sweet spider monkey whom I also met. He is indeed a little darling, and I wholeheartedly approve of him for my little friend 😉

==> Would you like to read more stories? Then click here 🙂 <==

 

sanctuary

part of the sanctuary where over 85 rescued spider monkeys live

Lila C Duville

16 Comments

  1. Hello Lila, thank you for sharing the story of beautiful Mathilda. She really is a beauty and i am very glad that she was rescued. The pictures truly look sad and even Mathilda looked very sad in those pictures. I am very happy that she is nor in Mexico and is living the lovey-dovey life now with her boyfriend. I do not know so much about spider monkeys though. How are they different from the rest?

    • Yes, Mathilda was miserable at that zoo, it always broke my heart visiting her there …; but now she is so very happy at her sanctuary, living with other spider monkeys. They are fascinating animals, highly intelligent, and in order to interact with them you have to know their rules and etiquette. If you make them angry, they can get vicious (they have sharp fangs which can do some serious damage).  I feel fortunate that some of the spider monkeys at the sanctuary bonded with me 🙂 

      Spider monkeys are in danger of extinction, at least they were when I was running my campaign to close the zoo and rescue the animals there. Many spider monkeys are ripped away from their mothers when they’re just babies (the mothers often get killed in the process), the babies are then sold as “pets”. People who buy them as pets usually know nothing about spider monkeys, can’t deal with them or control them, and those poor animals end up being beaten, locked in small cages, and left forgotten … Besides, they can live up to 35-40 years … Who will keep a pet that long …? Many spider monkeys live in such deplorable conditions and are being abused, but the good news is that many are getting rescued. Spider monkeys are also illegally sold for meat …
      The sanctuary is full with spider monkeys that come from terrible backgrounds of abuse, and many have traumas … Spider monkeys are complex animals and they should not be kept as pets. They are wild animals. The sad thing is, though, that once they are removed from the wild you cannot rehabilitate and release them. Hence the sanctuaries.

  2. Hi Lila – This is cool as I love animal stories.  Last week I watched Benji—again!  Animals can be so intelligent.  It’s remarkable what some of thing can be trained to do.  The woman in the story was a special lady and I’m so glad that Mathilda got a new home!
    Thanks for this adventure!

    • Benji is cute, such a nice feel good movie. Animals are indeed so intelligent, sometimes they seem wiser than humans 😉 I’m also glad that Mathilda has a beautiful furrever home now. She has her happy ending 🙂 

  3. Wow, great story I was hooked the whole time. Very cool to read about Mathilda, I love spider monkeys as well. The best part was at the end when you told us the terrible zoo had been closed down and all the beautiful animals were saved and taken on to better lives. Not sure I will ever be in that part of Mexico but I promise to stop by to see Mathilda if it ever happens! Have a good day.

    • Hi, Mathilda’s sanctuary is near Tulum, in the state of Quintana Roo – the nearest airport is Cancun. It is the only spider monkey sanctuary there and they also do tours for tourists, if you ever come that way 😉 

  4. I so enjoyed your tale of Mathilda.  I adore spider monkeys and there are two in a zoo close to me. This is a lovely zoo and they are loved and cared for here in Australia.  Your story was enchanting and would encourage anyone to reach out and help all precious animals kept in captivity. 

    Sad that you were not able to help your tiger friend but I loved the photos and your end note.

    Thanks for sharing this with us.

    Lily 😊

    • Hi Lily, 

      I also love spider monkeys! It is because of Mathilda that I got to know them better. It broke my heart when I heard of the tiger’s death. I tend to keep my promises, but I couldn’t keep it for him … So, I kept my promise to all the other animals at that zoo, in his honor. 

  5. Your site is packed with information! It was obvious to me you’re an author but I didn’t see where I could buy one of your books; are any of your books for sale on your site and if so, where?

    I didn’t see any ads on your site; it was kind of refreshing actually. Are you planning on including click-ads to your site?

    As a reader, I appreciated you Affiliate Disclaimer page; being transparent is important. As a fellow affiliate marketer, don’t have an Affiliate Disclaimer page on my site but I will now… thank you! 

    I like your ‘call to action’ to other authors offering your book review service. Also, I like the drop-down menu you provide for your books reviews, it serves to remove a cluttered appearance.

    So,…where can I get a look at your books?.

    • Hello!

      Thank you for your lovely feedback on my website. I decided not to use any ads for this site, as it is my author site, and I like to keep it clean of click-ads. I want it to be solely focused on anything to do with writing, book reviews, my stories, and my books. And speaking of books 😉 , yes, you can get my book Tales of Los Cabos as e-book or paperback on Amazon. Here is the link ==> Tales from Los Cabos

  6. This is a great article. It is heartwarming. But what a tease! Lol Now, I definitely have read your book to find out how things turned out. I’m glad to know that all the animals are safe now and in better circumstances. I want to read the rest of the journey. I used to love going to zoos to see the beautiful exotic animals that I knew I’d never get to see in the wild, but my heart always went out to them because they were not in their own natural habitat living free. Just imagine if we took humans, put them in jail then had tours letting people gawk and stare and take pictures of the people behind bars. I will take a nature program on tv any day rather than to see these precious animals in a zoo.

    We need more people like you who will try even through roadblocks to help animals in need. I am grateful to you for not giving up. There are too many people out there who think that animals are just animals and they don’t need any special attention from us. Have you seen Mathilda since she was rescued? Do you think she still remembers you?

    • Hi Lana,

      Yes, I’ve seen Mathilda after she was rescued. I went to visit her twice in her sanctuary and every time I arrived, she was waiting for me. Her caretaker told me that as soon as I step out of the car, even though she can’t see me from her area, she knows I’m there and she gets excited. Her caretaker also told me that Mathilda knows very well that I’m the one who helped her out of that zoo and brought her to the sanctuary. Mathilda always hugs me when I see her and she is so sweet. She loves me and I love her very much. We’re friends for life 🙂 

      I would love to see her again, hopefully I can organize a trip to her sanctuary soon 🙂 

  7. Mathila is adorable! How old was she when you rescued her? I have never seen a real life Spider monkey before but I am sure they are cute. I love your bond with the tiger. Do you know that in Chinese Zodiac believe the monkey and the tiger do not get along? It is amazing that you have that bond, it warms my heart. Your excerpt is amazing, can not wait to see how the whole book will come out.

    • Hi, 

      Mathilda was 35 years old when she was rescued in 2015. The lady at the sanctuary told me that she guessed that to be her age. Now, she is around 39 years old. And yes, she is absolutely adorable, I just love her!

  8. I enjoyed this excerpt and thank you for sharing. Mathilda sounded like most people I know. It was heartbreaking reading about her captivity. Especially when she pointed out that the lock on her cage was open. You had me wiping away tears reading about her human reactions to not being free at that moment. This blurb was very interesting and intense. It also reminds me of how lucky we humans are to be free. Thank you so much for this.

    • Hi Steve, 

      During my campaign to close down that zoo and free the animals I kept on realizing and appreciating the freedom I have, and which the animals didn’t have. It was always a poignant reminder every time I saw them … I’m very happy that zoo is closed now and all animals are either in sanctuaries or released into the wild. 

      We are indeed very lucky to be free, even if we are restricted in society, but we have many freedoms.

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