Denise Spaan and Filippo Aureli
Probably due to much anthropogenic disturbance near the eastern, northern and western LAT limits, finding and following the monkeys was particularly challenging in 2022. Despite these difficulties, 2022 was a good year for our project with many achievements and the involvement of many people.
Emanuele made good progress on his PhD project on spider monkey vocalizations. In addition to our biweekly monitoring of the fruiting and flowering patterns of trees used by spider monkeys, we expanded our work on trees in two ways this year. We started to run a pilot study to examine the role spider monkeys play in the maintenance and regeneration of the forest as seed dispersers by looking at the species of plant saplings found along spider monkey travel routes (the routes the monkeys take in the tree canopies to move through the forest) and comparing them to areas where the monkeys do not travel. We also started to study the vegetation of LAT from the sky by trialing a multispectral drone to identify different tree species that are important in the spider monkey diet. In 2022 we also expanded our focus to other animal species using camera traps. This information along with direct observations by us and LAT residents was used to prepare lists of animal and tree species which were fundamental to helping in the creation of the protected area “Jaguar”, which neighbors LAT. So, the research in LAT is contributing to the conservation of the areas surrounding it as well!!!!
We are sad to say goodbye to Monica and Bac at the end of 2022. We are grateful for their contribution to all aspects of the project and their work on the wonderful “LAT amphibians” booklet. We are excited to welcome a new member to the ConMonoMaya team: Dr. Amor Aline Saldaña Sánchez. Amor will not only be collecting data on the monkeys but thanks to her experience in analyzing data and writing scientific articles she will help us with the large datasets we have been compiling over the past years of work in LAT. These highly valuable datasets will provide a lot of insight into spider monkey behavior and the value of LAT for conservation.
We want to thank you all for the continued support to our project and spider monkey conservation in general. We wish you all the very best for 2023!