Entry #6: Just Hanging Out

Written by: R. Reeder

Woolly monkeys don’t simply walk along branches to get from tree to tree. These arboreal monkeys also climb, leap, and even suspend (hang from the arms, legs and/or tail). Woollies, as well as spiders, howlers, and muriquis, are the four monkey species in the entire world that have prehensile tails, which means that their tails act like a fifth limb, making them extremely mobile in the canopy. Although they share this anatomical trait, all four species otherwise differ slightly in their anatomy and dominant modes of locomotion, giving each other a little more space as they move about in the forest. Continue reading

Entry #5: The Trek to Maquisapa

Written by: R. Reeder

Well, time is winding down. We are in the final stretch, as much as we are trying to deny it. One of our fellow researchers, Sebastian, was the first to leave the station, after working with the spider monkeys for a year. To make the most out of his last day, we all took the day off and hiked the Maquisapa trail. None of us had ever done the entire trail before. It is four kilometers, the longest trail here in the trail system. It’s a beautiful trail, with high elevation points where the forest thins out a little more so you can see further into the distance, and low points where the trail can flood if there is a substantial amount of rain. The trail meets the Puma plot on the eastern and western sides, which is a well-known area for the spider monkey researchers, as it is an area the spider group MQ-1 frequents. Sebastian was hoping, of course, to see some spider monkeys along the way to say one last goodbye. Unfortunately, they were nowhere to be found. We heard woolly monkeys; saw some sakis, and also some howlers, but no spiders. It wasn’t a big deal though; Sebastian had visited several members of the group in the days prior to this last day and had said his goodbyes. Once we reached a lagoon, which touches the southwestern side of the trail, we decided it would be a great adventure if we could canoe out of the lagoon to the Rio Tiputini, and then float down to camp. The other option was simply to walk back down the Lago trail, about another two kilometers, to camp. It should come as no surprise that we thought about the options for maybe a minute, and in the next minute all seven of us were all clambering into the rickety wooden canoe tied to the dock. Continue reading