Brown headed spider monkey (Ateles fusciceps)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 11253118
The Choco forests in north-western Ecuador are seriously threatened due to their rapid fragmentation and transformation affecting the populations of a great number of species. the lack of serious political protection programs made that currently these forests have been reduced to less than 2% of the original distribution. Primates play a vital role in the ecological dynamics of tropical rainforest, thus constituting a key group within conservation programs. None the less, due to the lack of conservation actions in the region, the rapid habitat transformation and extreme threats data on the real and current status of the primate populations and in particular of Ateles fusciceps, one of the most endangered primates in Earth, is almost nonexistent. The aim of this project is to investigate the population density and current conservation status of the most endangered primate in Ecuador Ateles fusciceps and of the rest of Choco primate community. Censuses, rapid assessments and surveys in eight different sites will update the status of the species and possibly will detect new areas where the species might be found. Educational workshops will promote the importance and increase raise awarness of primates in the study area. Finally this study will generate baseline data of the last wild populations of the species, and in order to create a conservation strategy for Ateles fusciceps this data can be used for a biological corridor model in the near future with the continous of this project in the lowland North-western Ecuador forest. To assess the population density of A. fusciceps (CR) and the primate community we will do census surveys at three sites where there are previous records of the presence of this species. We will be following the line transect methodology described in Peres (1999). Two researchers at each site will walk at least 5 km per day five days a week for two months aiming to cover at least 200 km per site. Also we identify and select five sites with potential habitat of A. fusciceps, that are specified in the study of Peck, et al. 2010 for which no recent information on the presence of the species is available. Rapid assessments will be held in each of these selected sites by 3 to 4 members for approximately ten days at each site. Surveys will be held at each site to evaluate the impact of the community on the primate population and their habitat, including the community economic status, the actual threats to each species and the history of human intervention. In each of the three censuces sites we will develop an educational program that combine workshops with the local schools and try to increase knowledge and raise awareness in the commuties, we will attempt to create ecological groups with the students also the workshops will include activities such as field trips and creating a local plant nurseries. Finally we are going to build capacity with the community of Tesoro escondido for promnote and economic alternative bye community ecoturism enterprise.
Project 11253118 location - Ecuador, South America