Monkey Forest Tales: linving in the cement jugle: challenges and dangers

In today’s post we are going to talk about the challenges and dangers of primates living in our cement jungles, i.e. cities. While growing up momkey’s babies and juveniles have different challenges and threats that they need to overcome and learn to identify in order to survive.
Monkeys explore those challenges in the same way they will do it if they were living in the forest. This means they will bite, lick and touch everything around them while exploring and learning from their moms what is good and what is not. In the forest this includes biting sticks, leaves and fruits while trying to learn what is tasty. In the city this can also means biting and licking metal surfaces, biting electrical cords, licking cement surfaces with or without toxic substances as well as the few trees, fruits, flowers and leaves in our gardens, parks and forest remnants.
How this affect them is poorly understood. For now we know that biting cords can be one of the causes of electrocution of young monkeys in some urban areas, as well as the bad conditions of these cord insulation. In addition in some areas electrical cords are also used to move between trees and buildings increasing their probability to electrocutions.
Crossing busy roads in cities is an additional challenge for monkeys in cities that is poorly mitigated despite of some studies showing monkey’s use of canopy bridges located in specific pathways. Presence of big trees is possible in cities along narrow roads that can make natural bridges for monkeys still possible. However many cities have policies that includes periodic trim and more common these days complete cut old trees, despite of their benefits to reduce temperature in cities.
An additional challenges is the presence of stray dogs roaming in the streets and sometimes hunting in packs that not always can be avoided. Baby monkeys and juveniles learn from their moms how to recognize those dogs as threats, however roadkill, electrocutions and sometimes mother’s death can make this learning more difficult.
We are trying to monitor those threats (dogs, electrocutions and roadkill) in Villavicencio city and San Martín town to find strategies that reduce those threats for monkey’s populations in urban areas. This threats are also present in rural areas however it seems its intensity is less strong. However more data is need it.
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