Primates Are Indicators of Forest Health
All four species of Costa Rica’s primates are found in the Osa Peninsula and at our Biological Station. They include the Central American Spider Monkey (Ateles geoffroyi), the Mantled Howler (Alouatta palliata), the White-faced Capuchin (Cebus capucinus), and the Central American Squirrel Monkey (Saimiri oerstedii). Due to global deforestation and habitat fragmentation, all of these monkeys are experiencing population declines.
Osa Conservation is currently focusing on the endangered Central American Spider monkey, investigating their diet, sleeping tree usage and latrine importance. Spider monkeys congregate in trees at night to sleep as a group, where they have a communal toilet known as a “latrine.” We are interested in understanding the role these frugivores play in forest regeneration and how their latrines can be used to kick-start forest recovery in restoration efforts. We are using innovative methods for this study by taking camera traps into the canopy.
A Central American Spider Monkey (Ateles geoffroyi); photo by Manuel Sánchez