Monkey Forest Tales: Challenges of working in urban versus rural areas: questions

In today’s post we talk about another challenge of working in urban versus rural areas. We are going to talk about the differences in the type of questions that these different systems can address as well as some challenges to answer those questions.

Rural and urban areas represent different kind of threats for wildlife, and even if threats are the same (e.g. road killing) frequency and severity of those threat are not necessarily the same in urban versus rural areas. Therefore, questions varies and the way to measure those threats also varies.

For example, is common to use camera traps located in wildlife crossing to measure road killing and the use of wildlife crossing measures (e.g. canopy bridges). In urban areas, one of the challenges is to avoid people to destroyed, rob or vandalized camera traps. Because these camera traps are usually located in a more populated areas, more visible and usually area where several illegal activities occur, it is more common that we lose our equipment, or it is vandalized. Although this can also happen in rural areas where illegal hunting occurs, it is more common in urban areas.

Something that usually helps is to socialize your activities with the people living nearby to the areas where you will put your camera traps. Involving local people and then sharing pictures you take of all the animals living close to them, sometimes helps to avoid issues of vandalizing equipment as they help you to take care of that equipment.

Another challenge of working in urban areas is robbery of your equipment while doing observations. We usually use cameras, binocular and GPS to collect specific data when doing behavioral and ecological studies with monkeys. In urban areas, especially close to forest remanent is common to be robed. Those are places that sometimes are isolated or with few public lights, therefore is easy to be robbed. Although not as precise as a GPS, phone apps to collect GPS locations can help. I don’t recommend going with cameras and use cameras in your phone to take specific pictures to illustrate your work and always work in pair to reduce some risks of working in urban areas. Not all urban areas represent the same risk and I’m especially referring to conditions of working in Colombian cities.

Don’t forget to support us by buying your Christmas gifts in https://fineartamerica.com/art/xyomara+carretero

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Monkey Forest Tales: We need your help!!!

Over the years Zocay Project had different sources of funding, a few small grants, support from some farms and funding form my personal projects as well as my own personal funds to cover field work (last four years). However pandemic and economic situation in Colombia is making more difficult to continue supporting this project through my personal funds, so in today’s post I am asking you to help us continue with our fieldwork.

How can you do it? I made a webpage in Fine Art America where you can buy prints and other products using my wildlife pictures (https://fineartamerica.com/art/xyomara+carretero). Think about giving a Christmas present that also support the work that we do in the places where wildlife live. All pictures were taken by me over the past 10 years of field work in Colombian Orinoquia and Amazonian forest. All pictures are from animals whose distribution include the Zocay Project study area.

What activities will you support? Mainly you will support our cost to go to field sites in San Martín area (Meta), Villanueva area (Casanare) and some places in Villavicencio (Meta) to count monkeys next year. All these places are in Colombian Llanos and are part of our continuous field sites (Villavicencio and Villanueva were included in 2019).

This work is especially important during January to April as well as during June to August and a final season in October and November. During the first months of the year is important for us to visit as much sites as possible as it is Colombian squirrel monkey and dusky titi monkeys birth season. During midyear months we are monitoring the Colombian squirrel monkey mating season as well as trying to identify the reason for an aggregation of black-capped capuchin groups that seems to occur every year during June or July but not seems to be related to any fruiting pattern that we had identified yet. Last months of the year sampling help us monitor the birth season from all the other monkey species in the are that doesn’t have a seasonal pattern.

What kind of expenses will you support? Most of the expenses we cover during our fieldwork includes food, transport, and materials at the study sites from students and me working in the field, and in a few places, some support for logging, although most farms in which we work we don’t have to pay for this item. In a few places also you will help us cover field assistant salaries.

We appreciate any support you can give us to continue our work for the conservation of monkey species in Colombian Llanos. If you want support us in any other form, please don’t hesitate to send us an email to xcarretero@zocayproject.com, xcarretero@gmail.com

© Copyright Disclaimer. All pictures used on this web page are protected with copyrights to Xyomara Carretero-Pinzón. If you want to use any of these pictures, please leave a message on the website. Thank you.

Monkey Forest Tales: Challenges of working in urban versus rural areas: Logistics

Over the past two years. Zocay Project had included a small monitoring of primate populations in urban areas additional to its initial monitoring in rural areas dedicated to cattle ranching. In today’s post I want to mention some challenges to working at both areas, some considerations that you may need to think about while planning.

Working in rural areas implies logistic planning that need to incorporate accommodation, transport, landowners permit to enter to the field sites and in some cases additional permits from local actors. Additionally, people working at rural areas usually come from other regions or countries, which means you also need to plan and understand how to deal with cultural differences.

Working in urban areas also implies some of those same challenges and requires logistic planning. Depending on the researcher knowledge of the city, some cultural adjustments are also necessary.

Although, security issues should be considered in both cases, how you deal with and how much risk you can have from robbery is different and you need to plan accordingly. It seems this is not always considered while planning urban projects, especially in countries like Colombia.

In our case, there are areas in the city where we work that we can just not sample, even if access seems feasible, because it represents an additional risk of robbery and in some cases, even a risk to our lives.

So, if you are planning an urban survey, additional to the usual considerations about accommodation, transport and permits that you consider for your rural projects. You also need to consult with people living in the city you are going to work in about security issues related to robbery. For example, which areas are dangerous if you carry equipment like cameras, binoculars, SPS. Which neighborhoods needs special considerations in terms of transport access and council information to allow you to work there. Finally, don’t assume that if you live in that city, you won’t need to plan your survey schedules and consider additional local help, just because you are in a city. Plan in advance financially and logistically.

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Monkey Forest Tales: About Ecology Day…What is Ecology and why is important to all of us

This week there were a celebration of the ecology day. Another day to celebrate nature. But what is ecology? And why is it important for all of us? So, on today’s post we are going to talk about it.

Ecology is the study of the relationship between living things and their environment, this means how they interact with the water, soil, and air. But why is it important for us because we are living beings and like animals and plants we also depend on and relate with the environment that surround us.

Most humans living in cities kind of forget that we are part of nature, and we relate with nature in the same way that plants and animals do. Even some kids thinks that chicken comes from a fridge in the supermarket and not other place. An idea that if you think about it make sense if they never see a chicken outside of the fridge, in a farm.

In today’s world when we have so many crises in our hands, pandemic, climate crisis and biodiversity loss is important to remind ourselves, as well as teach our kids about the importance of our relationship with nature and how best to relate with it. Nature gives you strength, happiness, and peace of mind. For me nature is my natural recharger, is in nature where I made the best decisions of my life, is where I go to think and where I’m reminded of how much monkeys means to me and why I decide to dedicate my live to them.

So, in this post we just want to remind you that ecology and nature is important for all of usand we should be teaqching ourselves as well as our kids to remain connected with the only force that can save us and our planet…NATURE!!!

© Copyright Disclaimer. All pictures used on this web page are protected with copyrights to Xyomara Carretero-Pinzón. If you want to use any of these pictures, please leave a message on the website. Thank you.