Monkey Forest Tales: News from the field: howlers everywhere

Today’s post is written while in the field. Every time we spend time in the field, the experience is different. Sometimes we saw just a few groups in each fragment or no groups at all. This usually happens in the smallest fragment in which monkeys seems to be prone to hide more often or just use it more temporally. Other times, we see almost all groups in the area in just one field trip.

In this field trip this seems to be the case for red howler monkeys, except from the group in the smallest fragment, we saw all groups. It was a nice surprise and even more as there are three pregnant females in different forest fragments. Although we had seen pregnant females before it is always great to see new ones.

Howler usually have babies every 3 – 4 years, so a new baby is always a great news. Hopefully in our next month visit we will find newborns in these groups. Because howlers had this long interval between births, it is so important every time a new baby is born in a group. Babies depends on their moms for everything during the first two months but remains closer to them until their 10 months of life. The process to reach adulthood in howlers is a long one, with females getting their first baby around their 4th year of live.

So, in this fieldtrip, we saw red howlers in every walk, basically everywhere. For me, red howler monkeys are special, not only because my first monkey study was with this species, but also because to see them and waking up to the sound of their high vocalizations is the best way to wake up for me. So, the best of this fieldtrip was to see that despite of living in fragments, red howler monkeys are reproducing, and soon new babies will come to this planet. Let’s hope this species continue surviving despite all the threats to their habitat.

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