Monkey Forest Tales: Celebrating International Primate Day!

This week on September 1rst, we celebrate International Primate Day! It’s a day to bring attention to this wonderful and diverse group of mammals whose members are the closest related to us, as we are also primates.

It is also a day to draw attention to the problems that are affecting most primate populations around the world. The main threats to this diverse group are mainly caused by human activities with deforestation and fragmentation caused by cattle ranching, agriculture at different scales (from small crops to large plantations), infrastructure projects, and mining. The additional threat that is exacerbated by deforestation and fragmentation of primate habitat is hunting and illegal pet trade.

Primates include all mammals that we commonly called lemurs, loris, monkeys, apes, and humans. It is a diverse group with a wide range of locomotion skills, diet, social organizations, reproductive strategies, habitat requirements, adaptations, and morphological features, including very colorful animals as well as a wide range of sizes. The smallest primate is a prosimian, Berthe’s mouse lemur, who lives in Madagascar and weighs no more than 30.6 grams. And the biggest primate is the Gorilla, living in Africa, with a weight of 140 – 250 kg, for males that are bigger than females.

In the study area, as we mentioned multiple times, we have five species of primates. The largest monkey in the study area is the red howler monkeys and the smallest is the Colombian squirrel monkey. They showed a wide diversity of habits with four diurnal species (red howlers, black-capped capuchins, dusky titi, and the Colombian squirrel monkeys) and one nocturnal species (Brumback’s night monkey). They also have a variety of diet from the most folivorous species like red howler monkeys and a more insectivorous-frugivorous species like the Colombian squirrel monkeys and a more omnivorous species like black-capped capuchins.

There is also a wide diversity of social structures exhibited by the monkeys in the study areas with monogamous species like dusky titi and Brumack’s night monkeys as well as multimale and multifemale groups like red howler, Colombian squirrel monkeys, and black-capped capuchins.

At the study area, deforestation and fragmentation had been shaping the ecology and movements of the monkey’s species inside and between forest fragment, as well as the use of wire and living fences, isolated trees, palm oil plantations, and pastures depending on their skills and tolerance to human activities around them.

Let’s celebrate International Primate Day by raising awareness of the diversity of this great group of animals and protecting the forest in which they inhabit. We also can do something by minding the things we buy and from where they proceed

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