Forest Monkey Tales: Notes from the field: baby’s season


It is the beginning of the year again and with it a new baby’s season for Colombian squirrel monkeys and dusky titi monkeys. Counting all new babies during the first months every year has become one of our happiest times in the field. And this year is not an exception.
Dry season this year in the study area continue and the stream continue drying. There are still some ponds were birds and mammals met. The forest floor is covered with dry leaves and the wind blows all day making the monkeys sightings more difficult. Yellow, green, and brown colors from leaves are combined with yellow and purple colors of Jacaranda and Bototo flowers. A few fruits cover the forest canopies.
This year, we counted less babies from both species than last year although it can be that births are just a bit delayed this year. Some of our observations of trees with fruits over the past months have showed a delayed pattern in fruit production for some trees used by monkeys. This delayed pattern can be related with slight changes on rain amount from past year. However, it is always exciting to see new babies and to confirm that some of last year babies are still alive and growing.
Our monitoring of monkeys use of water reservoirs used for cattle have shown that at least the Colombian squirrel monkey use those water reservoirs to drink water during the dry months, despite of some water ponds still present on the stream crossing the forest.
Probably one of the surprising findings of other mammals using and crossing the life fence where the water resources we are monitoring are located is the presence of the cryptic crab-eating racoon (Procyon cancrivorous) as well as ocelot (Felis pardalis). Those water sources are also used by some yellow-headed and crested caracara and Spin’x guans.
As the dry season progress, we continue to monitor water reservoirs and monkeys’ groups. A couple of black-capped capuchin babies had grown and seems to progress with good health. Red howler monkeys continues with some botflies although this seem to not had affected their health.
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