Monkey Forest Tales: Celebrating Our Forest and Water

This week on March 22nd we celebrate the International Day of Water and on March 21st we celebrate the International Forest Day, two important days to raise awareness about two of the main resources that make possible life in our planet. So let’s talk about this two topics in today’s post: Water and Forest…

Forest is an important part of our lives, even if we don’t live close to it. Why? Because is thanks to forest that we have clear air and water. Trees and other plants are like filter that purify the water around them and produce the oxygen we breath every second. Without that we can’t live. Also, we are mostly water, our bodies are around 70 % of water therefore without water we can’t exist.

But why is important to celebrate those days, mostly because is a strategy to make forest and water more visible for all of us, even if we are not aware of how much we depend on forest and water to live, as many people in cities are used to believe.

Forest is also important to conserve water and specially to conserve water courses such as streams, rivers, lakes and in the case of mangroves that is a type of forest to regulate sea level and reduce storm risk and its impacts.

In the study area forest is reduced and the climate dynamics (dry and rainy season) have been changing even more in the last 5 years, with dry season stronger and in some years longer than before and therefore a water scarcity in the are that was not common when this project started. This impact the pattern of fruit and flower production in those forest and that changes in fruit production also impact our monkey species. Monkeys change the use of space according to fruit production patterns and it becomes more challenging when the forest fragments in which they live are smaller and more isolated because of pastures, palm oil plantations and other human activities. So, if you protect forest, you are also protecting the water inside those forest and all the animals, including monkeys, that live within.

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Monkey Forest Tales: News from the field: babies season again

In today’s post we are going to talk about the last news we have from the field. In our last visit to the study forest in February, we have the opportunity to see babies again.

As usual at this time of the year, Colombian squirrel monkeys have babies and a big surprise this year, our Chela had a baby this year, since 2017 we hadn’t been able to see Chela’s babies. But this year we saw her carrying a baby of at least one month. An interesting observation at this time was also that she was followed closely by a subadult, probably a female that in some moment was observed carrying the baby, but as soon as Chela saw us, she takes her baby and carried it. This sharing of parental care is common in other monkeys’ species in the study area, including squirrel monkeys in which juveniles also carry babies although usually older than three months of age.

Another surprise from this visit is the observation of at least two young females of squirrel monkeys with babies in neighboring groups, probably their first babies. So, this is an indication that at least some of the juveniles are reaching the adult age and are reproducing, a good sign for the monkeys in these fragmented areas.

We also, saw babies of red howler monkeys and black capped capuchins between 2 – 6 months, probably from the females we saw pregnant at the end of last year, which is a good sign for now of the population in our study area.

Same as in previous years, we saw a strong dry season. Streams and even some natural and human-made lakes are almost completely dry. Rain just started in March, but not enough for streams and lakes to start filling their reservoirs. Hopefully wild and domestic animal are still using cattle water reservoirs, although we still don-t know with what frequency and if all wild animals in the area used or not. A question we hope we can answer by this time next year if we get funds…

© 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.