Photographs of Mangabey Monkeys by Jordi Piqué
The white-crowned mangabey is an endangered species. The mangabeys originate from Ghana, the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso. They are characterized by a white, crescent-shaped mark on their head. The main reason for their being on the brink of extinction is human consumption and deforestation of its habitat by the timber industry.
These photos are taken at the Barcelona Zoo and I had the great pleasure of attending the first days of a breeding season.
Mangabeys live in families that revolve always around mothers and children. After delivery and for days afterwards, the male stays by the female's side, softly caressing her and keeping her free of parasites. Neither more nor less than what a man would do with his wife. It is a relationship of great tenderness.
The mother searches for a corner and protects her baby with her body. In the first days it is practically impossible to take a picture of the baby because it is constantly covered by the mother's coat. I barely managed to photograph a bare, hairless hand.
As the days passed, the mangabeys became accustomed to my quiet presence and I could finally photograph the baby. She was permanently hooked to her mother's breast. How human are the animals! So much tenderness in the mother!
In one of the photos I took, I thought I saw the mother with a look of gratitude to nature. It seems that the mangabeys are aware of their critical state of extinction and that they take each birth as a miracle for survival. Within a few days, hair begins to grow on the baby.
It is spectacularly beautiful to see these wonderful scenes of union with the whole family.