Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Biologist works with rainforest communities to save endangered monkey

23.10.2006
A year after launching a project to save one of the world's rarest monkeys, the University of Sussex biologist co-ordinating the scheme has made his first sighting of the elusive species.

It was not until the final day of the inaugural PRIMENET workshop for local communities in Ecuador that Dr Mika Peck observed the Brown-headed Spider Monkey (Ateles fusciceps) sunbathing in the trees. But when he realised volunteers had identified the critically endangered species thanks to the workshop, Dr Peck felt the rewards for every step of the 12 month-journey into the rainforest to launch the scheme.

The PRIMENET Project is based inside the Los Cedros Biological Reserve in the Ecuadorean Andes and was set up in November last year to protect the Brown-headed Spider Monkey and its rainforest environment. Dr Peck is co-ordinating the scheme, working with the environmental organisation Ecuador Terra Incognita to secure the future of the species and educate communities on long-term survival plans for the mammal. There are only 50-known breeding pairs of this Spider Monkey that still exist in the wild, with some experts predicting the species could disappear completely in 50 years.

Dr Peck, lecturer and research fellow in biology and environmental science, says: "It was the last day of the course and we had given balloons to the volunteers as a substitute for the actual monkeys to show them how to observe the animals. One of the groups came running over and said they had seen a Spider Monkey and when I followed them, I saw it , sunbathing in the canopy.

"It was the first time I had ever seen this species and it was a fantastic sight and a great way to finish the first training course."

More than 20 people aged between 16 and 50 years, from towns and communities surrounding the reserve attended the first-ever PRIMENET workshop. The five-day course is designed to train volunteers as para-biologists capable of monitoring the Spider Monkey, observing the mammal's natural environment and learning techniques to protect the species from extinction. Using methods he describes as 'citizen science', Dr Peck demonstrated how to conduct primate surveys and complete data sheets. Mammal experts from Ecuador also explained why the region is home to the Spider Monkey and outlined the country's environmental and conservation law.

Among the volunteers were two people who walked seven-hours from their homes to attend the PRIMENET workshop which ran for eleven hours each day. In a part of the world facing numerous conservation and environmental concerns, Dr Peck found people were enthusiastic to learn about methods to preserve the rainforest region where they live.

Dr Peck says: "We are trying to set up a network of local people who can help us to monitor the animal and in the future maybe carry out the work themselves. Where we are based is one of the poorest regions in the country but there are also strong links with eco-tourism. The trick is to create something that the people can continue themselves and by getting families from surrounding villages involved we can also add to their income."

The project has been secured with £230,000 funding across three years from the British Government-sponsored Darwin Initiative, which aids conservation in bio-diverse regions around the world. The scientific and education centre at Los Cendros allows people from diverse indigenous groups to learn how to collect data and monitor the monkey population, as well as supporting work to develop 'corridors' to link nature reserves across the region. Teams of scientists from the UK and Ecuador are also using the base to study flora and fauna.

Jessica Mangold | alfa
Further information:
http://www.sussex.ac.uk/staff

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

nachricht A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>