R.I.P. Dear Digit

Written by K. Ellis

I got some pretty heavy news my first day back to the station. While searching for a few of our radio-collared animals, I heard one of my favorite monkeys on mortality (when there is no activity the collar will pulse much faster than the normal rate to alert the researcher that either the animal has died or that the collar has fallen off).  We pinpointed the collar to a large tree fall in the middle of D’s home range, but were unable to actually locate the collar before nightfall. I had the highest of hopes that Digit had managed to rip off the radio-collar and was now roaming the forest a free man. However, this fantasy would never play out as we found what remained of Digit and his collar under the tree fall the next morning. Digit’s cranium was intact and many of his bones were concentrated in one area, directly under the tree that had fallen. Thus, we have ruled out predation as the cause of death. The question remains, however, was Digit snoozing away when the tree went and he somehow got pinned under the tree as it fell or was he already injured and unable to move quickly enough to get out of harms way in time? Only poor Digit will know.

2014-07-019

Digit was first identified as a subadult male in 2008 and noted to have two missing digits on his right hand for which he later acquired his name. In July of 2014 he was fashioned with a radio-collar allowing us to track him and his group. By this time, Digit had grown into a strapping adult male. Over several months of observation, Digit was noted to be a kind monkey and an integral member of the group. While he could often be found socializing with the moms and infants of the group, his true passion was to gallivant through the jungle on his own or with his trusty sidekick Docket (another adult male of the same age). And, although he was not much of a ladies man, he did have some successful copulations while under observation. Who knows maybe come summer we’ll have some little Digits running around (and Digit, or at least his genes, will live on)…

2014-07-18 14.06.41

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4 thoughts on “R.I.P. Dear Digit

    • Yes, the last two weeks have been much better. We’ve seen most of our monkeys, although not all of them as they have been ranging in subgroups making it difficult to locate everyone if they are not with a collared individual. Hopefully we’ll get to see everyone by the end of this week!

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