Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cheeky Monkeys!

Central American Spider Monkey

After months of planning, researching and trialing, last month saw the exciting official launch of our new monkey project. The aim of the project is to assess the population density of the endangered Central American Spider Monkey here in our patch of Tortuguero National Park. 

The surveys cover trails through the forest and transects along the canals collecting data on the number of monkeys encountered, the age and sex of said monkeys, and various other technical data. 

Armed with our highly technical angle measuring device, and binoculars a plenty for checking out monkey genitalia (in order to determine the sex), we headed out on North Trail for our first survey. Slowly we walked along the trail, eyes and ears peeled for signs of monkey activity. We were hopeful of seeing monkeys as on nearly every walk through the forest they are encountered, but alas, the end of the survey came and not a single monkey had we seen.

Rachel and Michelle looking for monkeys

We decided to wander on a little further to see if there was anything interesting around in the forest, and lo and behold, a mere 200m from the end of our survey, there appeared a group of spider monkeys. It was as if they knew and came to taunt us. They don’t call them cheeky monkeys for nothing! 

- Rachel, 6 month Intern