October, November, December 2017 report.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU, RESIDENTS AND OWNERS!
We look forward to 2018 and to continuing our support of ConMonoMaya and the LAT Monkey Project, La Escuelita de Macario Gomez, the LAT Medicianl Garden, Glucose (Diabetes) Testing for the Abuelitos (Grandparents or Elderly) every Wednesday at the Municipality in Tulum, Help Tulum Dogs, and new this year, Titers de Tulum.
Below is a brief summary of each project:
CON MONO MAYA:
Here is a summary of what was achieved during 2017 from Dr. Filippo Aureli, Director ConMonoMaya, Professor at the Universidad de Veracruz and supervising director of the LAT Monkey survey project.
- We were successful in following the LAT spider monkeys while they carried out their activities and expressed their natural behavior, a clear sign of a high degree of habituation of the monkeys to us (Objective 1).
- We made good progress in recognizing individual monkeys (Objective 2). There are about 23 monkeys that we can recognize individually based on their distinctive coloration, characteristic marks on the face and genitals, and scars. However, we have not seen about half of them for several months. We hope to be able to identify them when we see them again.
- We continue to collect data to document the monkeys’ ranging and grouping patterns focusing on subgroup composition and fission and fusion events (Objective 3).
- Analysis of GPS points collected to document the ranging patterns will help us in examining whether the LAT monkeys belong to one group or multiple groups (Objective 4). Being able to regularly identify the followed monkeys will also help in determining whether their associations are due to the LAT monkeys belonging to multiple groups.
- Our data collection helped us also to document spider monkeys’ naturally occurring behavior at LAT (Objective 5)
- We have documented some of the key tree species used by the monkeys for feeding and resting (Objective 6).
Overall, finding the monkeys has been more challenging in most of 2017 than in November and December 2016, even in November and December 2017, although we know more sleeping locations this year than last year. We found out that the monkeys travel often outside LAT, possibly to areas where food is available. These facts indicate that the monkeys use an area larger than LAT. We had followed them outside LAT a few times, and we hope to do so on a regular basis in 2018 to learn about additional feeding and sleeping locations. However, we do not want that our research assistant Cecilia goes outside LAT alone as she has already met hunters that warned her that it is dangerous going there alone. We hope that we will have other team members joining forces with Cecilia in 2018.
For the past 2 years the LAT Nonprofit Committee has provided funding for an after school program in the neighboring Pueblo of Macario Gomez.
Volunteers and teachers Erika Wittman, Aline Libassi, Alejandra Condo, Jaimie Gittens, and Sara Luna de Junco provide educational, artistic, environmental, and emotional support to more than 30 children every week. Our monthly units range from recycle and reuse, conservation of flora and fauna, endangered species, how to respect and care for pets with help from local vet, Dr. Juan, holiday traditions, Mayan myths, and, of course, free time for lots of games, stories, and art projects.
We are looking forward to welcoming Emily Littmean and Tyler Sanders, 2 educators from New Jersey, who have received a global teacher grant funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State to teach Science for a week. We bring exceptional people to work with our kids at Escuelita: educators, scientists, chefs, and local Mayan artisans, as well as folks who come laden with clothing, supplies, and books for our library. Gracias a todos, thanks to everyone!
MEDICINAL GARDEN AT OUR COMMUNITY CENTER
Designed by Matthew Leach, Thomas Bayer, and exception artwork by April Larken. The raised beds have been constructed, and planting will begin in Spring. This project seeks to perpetuate and advance the knowledge of healing plants and the therapeutic properties of the flora of the regions’s jungle.
HELP TULUM DOGS
The LAT Nonprofit contributed funding to Help Tulum Dogs October Spay and Neuter Clinic, and to another clinic in the pueblo of Cuyo. We hope to make this a yearly tradition and will also contribute to the purchase of dog food for this organization.
GLUCOSE MONITORING FOR DIABETICS IN TULUM
Together with the Rotary Club of Tulum, we support Glucose level testing ofor Abuelitos, or the elderly, on Wednesdays in the Tulum Municipality. Blood sugar testing is an important part of diabetes care and tool in managing treatment plans and preventing long term complications of diabetes.
TITERES DE TULUM
Indigenous communities in Mexico, particularly in Quintana Too, still experience marginalization and continue to be disadvantaged and vulnerable(JC MINGANOS-NOH 2009 UNIVERSIDAD AUTONOMA DE YUCATAN).
TITERES DE TULUM is and organization that brings puppetry workshops, live performance, and traditional Mayan cultural myths and art to Mayan communities. They have also presented their work in Tulum and other parts of Mexico. Schools in remote communities received one puppetry workshop and 2 performances of “THE RETURN OF THE MAIZE GOD.” The production will give life to the mythical Mayan gods, revitalizing the audience’s cultural identity, environmental awareness, and understanding of the fragile ecosystem in our area.
The aim is to reach at least 400 Mayan children in schools in these outlying communities. The workshop will teach the children how to create their own puppets, using recycled materials, increasing their understanding of how to reduce their impact on the environment.
I urge you to stop by the Escuelita, talk to our biologist Cecilia if you meet her on her rounds, stop by the diabetes clinic at the Municipality on Wednesdays, and attend one of the performances of the Titeres de Tulum.
Enjoy winter in this amazing paradise. (Disfruta el invierno en este paraiso estupendo!)