Monkey Forest Tales: News from the field: babies’ season continues

Today’s post is once again one from our fieldsite in Colombian Llanos, as every years we are monitoring babies’ season of Colombian squirrel monkeys. Babies’ season for this small monkey occurs every year for around three months between January to March with some groups having all their babies at the beginning of January and others having their babies in March.
This time of the year is critical for them as not all babies reach their first year. Some of them died when they still depends on their moms for everything. And others died after their first year when they start their lives as juveniles. Therefore, group size for squirrel monkeys can remain the same for several years despite new babies born every year.
This year we had been able to count new babies in groups which we don’t monitor every year due to logistic constrains. A total of seven group of this species were monitored this month, all with babies.
Beginning of year is also dusty titi monkeys babies’ season. For this species, babies’ season started a bit earlier with some babies born in December. In this trip we detected an additional group of this species with one baby.
Additionally, our camera trap project is showing interesting behaviors of birds and mammals close to natural and artificial water sources.

Dry season in the area continues with esporadic rains. Mauritia swamps are almost completely dried, as well as most lagoons. Some of the streams also are completely dried and some had small ponds. Live is difficult at this time of the year for some animals, however some trees had fruits that serve as small islands.
The dry season in the area is full of contrast, the forest is full of yellow and brown tones with a few shades of green, a few redish fruits hanging in branches give enough food to all monkeys moms, while strong winds help them hide from possible predators from above and below.
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Monkey Forest Tales: Celebrating the wetlands, especially the Mauritia swamps in Colombian Llanos

On February 2nd, we celebrate Wetlands World Day!!! A day to rise awareness to wetland areas around the world. Colombian Llanos or Orinoquia region, an area of around 981.446 km2, in which 48% are wetlands, wetlands are threatened by some cattle ranching practices, infrastructure construction, urbanization in cities such as Villavicencio, and agriculture. Part of those wetlands are Mauritia flexuosa swamps (Morichales, in Spanish), that had been fragmented and in some case drought for cattle ranching. Some of those areas, however, still persist inside of cattle ranches and become one of the most interesting areas to connect gallery forest fragments.

One of our newest projects, started in August 2022 is focused on monitoring water sources used by livestock to get water in a highly fragmented landscape mainly of cattle ranching. This project monitors natural and artificial lagoons, artificial water reservoirs and Mauritia swamps using camera traps (This project is funded by Little Chalcraft Fund through Rewild). Our preliminary result had shown the use of these water sources during the transition period between rainy and dry season and will continue monitoring this area through the year.

Some of the amazing results we already found is the use of water reservoirs by red howler monkeys and Colombian squirrel monkeys during wet-dry transition period. But monkeys are not the only ones using these water sources, giant ant eaters, tamanduas, coatis, and crab-eating raccoons.

Mauritia swamps are important for primates not only as corridors but also as places to make nest for Brumback’s nigh monkeys, but also as a source of food. All species living in the study are had been seen over the years feeding on Mauritia flexuosa fruits and using those palms to search for arthropods during several hours of their feeding times. Therefore, its protection not only is important because of the value wetlands have to provide clean water but also because in the case of Mauritia swamps it also serve as an important food and habitat source for primates and other native fauna.  

© 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.