Science Diary: Monkeys – Costa Rican Model

Science Diary: Monkeys – Costa Rican Model

Music; Ambience: Capuchin monkeys

JM: Around the world, many countries are caught between the need to develop their land and the wish to maintain viable habitats for plants and animals. National parks help, but too often they are isolated sanctuaries. Welcome to Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside.

TM: “Costa Rica has one of the best developed national parks systems in the world.”

JM: Tracy McKinney studies capuchin and howler monkeys at the Curu Wildlife Reserve in Costa Rica. We’re listening to the sounds of capuchins in the background.

JM: “About 25 percent of their total land is reserved for wildlife, which is amazing. On the flip side of that though, Costa Rica also has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world. So the biggest concern for conservation here right now is fragmentation. So we’ve got good pockets of parks where the animals are well-protected. But those parks are not connected. And that’s a huge concern for wildlife. Because if they can’t travel between different areas and they’re isolated, their populations are not going to be very viable. If there’s more variation in your gene pool, then you are better able to adapt. If an animal species is kind of inbred, because they can’t travel to find mates, then one simple disease may wipe out a huge proportion of the population. So having animals that can travel and that can intersperse makes them genetically much more robust. One of the things that may improve on this in Costa Rica is to look at places like the wildlife refuge as potential intermediary habitats between these big forest fragments. So if you have monkeys in a protected park, but separated from another park, the animals can’t travel between the two. But if farmers are using their land in a way that allows animals to use it as a corridor, that provides connectivity between those two fragments.”

JM: We’ll hear more about the monkeys of Costa Rica in future programs. Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Science Diary: Monkeys - Costa Rican Model

Wildlife reserves account for 25 percent of Costa Rica. But these regions are isolated and this has a major impact on their wildlife.
Air Date:02/26/2014
Scientist:
Transcript:

Science Diary: Monkeys - Costa Rican Model

Music; Ambience: Capuchin monkeys

JM: Around the world, many countries are caught between the need to develop their land and the wish to maintain viable habitats for plants and animals. National parks help, but too often they are isolated sanctuaries. Welcome to Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside.

TM: "Costa Rica has one of the best developed national parks systems in the world."

JM: Tracy McKinney studies capuchin and howler monkeys at the Curu Wildlife Reserve in Costa Rica. We're listening to the sounds of capuchins in the background.

JM: "About 25 percent of their total land is reserved for wildlife, which is amazing. On the flip side of that though, Costa Rica also has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world. So the biggest concern for conservation here right now is fragmentation. So we've got good pockets of parks where the animals are well-protected. But those parks are not connected. And that's a huge concern for wildlife. Because if they can't travel between different areas and they're isolated, their populations are not going to be very viable. If there's more variation in your gene pool, then you are better able to adapt. If an animal species is kind of inbred, because they can't travel to find mates, then one simple disease may wipe out a huge proportion of the population. So having animals that can travel and that can intersperse makes them genetically much more robust. One of the things that may improve on this in Costa Rica is to look at places like the wildlife refuge as potential intermediary habitats between these big forest fragments. So if you have monkeys in a protected park, but separated from another park, the animals can't travel between the two. But if farmers are using their land in a way that allows animals to use it as a corridor, that provides connectivity between those two fragments."

JM: We'll hear more about the monkeys of Costa Rica in future programs. Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.