Science Diary: Monkeys – Adaptability

music; ambience

“I’m standing under a Grand Saba tree, and I’m looking for howler monkeys.”

[human doing monkey call]

In the forests of Costa Rica, monkeys are adapting to the presence of humans with mixed success. Welcome to Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside.

“I’m in the Curu Wildlife Reserve in western Costa Rica. And it’s about 3000 acres. That includes some pasture land for cattle, some mango plantations. But about two-thirds of the park is untouched forest. So it’s advanced secondary forest which is forest that has been cut down at one point, but has re-grown. And there’s still primary forest, which is forest that has never been cut down. So this is an excellent park to study wildlife, because we have a lot of different habitat types.”

Tracie McKinney is a doctoral candidate in the department of anthropology at Ohio State University.

“I’m looking at human disturbance and how it impacts two species of monkeys: the white-faced capuchin monkey and the mantled howler monkey. Both of these species are responding fairly well to human change, but they are still declining in Costa Rica. What we want to see is how human disturbance is changing their behavior, how it impacts their diet, and if it has any major impacts that can really put these monkeys at risk. So for example, we look at the monkey’s diet. We compare the diet of monkey troupes living in farmland and monkeys who can steal things from garbage cans or get fed by tourists, with the diet of monkeys living in the forest, where monkeys normally used to live.”

A broader understanding of the monkey’s adaptability could lead to better management practices at wildlife reserves in Costa Rica and around the world.

Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Science Diary: Monkeys - Adaptability

In Costa Rican rain forests, monkeys seem to be adapting well to human encroachment.
Air Date:12/22/2008
Scientist:
Transcript:


music; ambience

“I'm standing under a Grand Saba tree, and I'm looking for howler monkeys.”

[human doing monkey call]

In the forests of Costa Rica, monkeys are adapting to the presence of humans with mixed success. Welcome to Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside.

“I'm in the Curu Wildlife Reserve in western Costa Rica. And it's about 3000 acres. That includes some pasture land for cattle, some mango plantations. But about two-thirds of the park is untouched forest. So it's advanced secondary forest which is forest that has been cut down at one point, but has re-grown. And there's still primary forest, which is forest that has never been cut down. So this is an excellent park to study wildlife, because we have a lot of different habitat types.”

Tracie McKinney is a doctoral candidate in the department of anthropology at Ohio State University.

“I'm looking at human disturbance and how it impacts two species of monkeys: the white-faced capuchin monkey and the mantled howler monkey. Both of these species are responding fairly well to human change, but they are still declining in Costa Rica. What we want to see is how human disturbance is changing their behavior, how it impacts their diet, and if it has any major impacts that can really put these monkeys at risk. So for example, we look at the monkey’s diet. We compare the diet of monkey troupes living in farmland and monkeys who can steal things from garbage cans or get fed by tourists, with the diet of monkeys living in the forest, where monkeys normally used to live.”

A broader understanding of the monkey’s adaptability could lead to better management practices at wildlife reserves in Costa Rica and around the world.

Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.