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…

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