Primates Peru is an unincorporated nonprofit organisation founded on the dissertation field research of Mrinalini Watsa, as affiliated with Washington University in Saint Louis. The projects initial focus was on a previously unstudied population of saddle-back tamarins (Saguinus fuscicollis) in south-east Peru, at a state-of-the-art biological field station (CICRA) on the Río Madre de Díos. In 2010, the project took a broad approach to the study of all callitrichids through collaboration with Dr. Jennifer Rehg, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. Rehg began an investigation of Goeldi's monkeys and emperor tamarins at CICRA and is now expanding research to an additional site in south-east Peru.
During the 2012 field season, Gideon Erkenswick, Graduate Student in Biology at the University of Missouri- St. Louis, has added a new component of research and conservation by analyzing the assemblage of primate pathogens and parasites within the population of these three sympatric species. This year, Dara Adams, Graduate Student in Anthropology at Ohio State University in Columbus, will also join the team of principal investigators with a special interest in the predator-prey dynamics of the bald-faced saki monkey (Pithecia irrorata) and large felids. In the 2013 field season (May - September), our ongoing study of callitrichids will focus on parasitology and endocrinology, as well as recording life history, reproductive behavior, and spatial data that is comparable to previous seasons. Additionally, we explore a new experimental design to study predator defense behavior of the bald-faced saki monkey that incorporates primate focal group follows, camera trapping, and vocalization playbacks
Description of the Callitrichid project goals:
- The acquisition of suitable genetic material from subgroups within the tamarin population.
- Observation of behavior in the context of reproduction, infant care and alloparenting.
- Evaluation of plant ecology in the context of food resources for the tamarin population.
- Documentation of callitrichid viral, fungal, protozoan/metazoan, and bacterial parasites; including potential disease vectors.
- Assessment of the conservation status and population viability of all three callitrichid species at this site.
- Collection of endocrine material for assessment of ovarian cycling in females
Description of the saki project goals:
The project investigates predator-prey dynamics between bald-faced saki monkeys (Pithecia irrorata) and felids (jaguars, Panthera onca; ocelots, Leopardus pardalis, etc.). Specifically, we aim to:
1) understand the mechanisms influencing risk perception in saki monkeys
2) identify saki monkey anti-predator strategies to different types of predators
3) assess the role of saki alarm calls in intraspecific and interspecific communication.
Research activities will include monitoring felid movement and activity using camera traps and radio telemetry, collecting data on habitat structure in saki monkey home ranges, and conducting experiments on saki monkeys using predator decoys and audio of alarm calls.
Distribution of Saguinus fuscicollis (adapted from Campbell et al., 2007)
Its has 12 subspecies, with Saguinus fuscicollis weddelli present at CICRA (Rowe, 1996)
A quick summary of species information is listed below
|Group size 4-11|
|1-4 males, 1-2 females|
|Inter-birth interval: 185 d|
|Age at first maturity: 13 mo|
|Cycle length ~25 d|
|Peak birth in SE Peru: Nov-Feb|
|Gestation length: ~150|
|Group size 4-8|
|1-4 males, 1-2 females|