Abstract # 164:

Scheduled for Friday, August 18, 2006 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 17 (Regency West 1/3 ) Poster Presentation


POPULATION AND HABITAT EVALUATION OF THE BLACK HOWLER MONKEY (Alouatta pigra) TO IDENTIFY POTENTIAL AREAS FOR ECOTOURISM IN PLAYAS DE CATAZAJÁ, IN NORTHEAST CHIAPAS.

Y. M. Bonilla-Sanchez1,2, J. C. Serio-Silva2 and G. Pozo-Montuy1,2
1Instituto de Ecologia AC, Division de Posgrado, Apdo. Postal 63, Xalapa, Veracruz 91070, Mexico, 2Depto. de Biodiversidad y Ecología Animal, Instituto de Ecologia AC
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     In Northeast Chiapas, the annual conversion rate of tropical rain forests to grassland is 12.4%. This deforestation places Alouatta pigra as an endangered species. Currently, there are many programs for sustainable development suggested for this area, including ecotourism, which may be a useful tool for rural development and conservation of natural resources. During October 2004-January 2006, we evaluated the habitat and population of A. pigra on 60 fragments in 36 towns of Playas de Catazajá, Chiapas through field studies and GIS. Using the sex ratio available for troops on each fragment, we identified several monkeys’ population characteristics that could be interesting to potential visitors. We applied a population-Ecotourism Potential Index (pEPI), which showed populations of howlers with high (n=0), medium (n=53) and low (n=7) ecotourism potential in these 36 towns. We also applied a habitat-Ecotourism Potential Index (hEPI) using as variables: vegetation type, area, distance to closest fragment and to towns, and availability and distance to closest communications. This hEPI indicated fragments with high (n=51), medium (n=9) and low (n=0) ecotourism potential. The sum of the population and habitat variables for each fragment provided a total-Ecotourism Potential Index (tEPI), categorizing towns with high (n=14), medium (n=26) and low (n=0) potentiality. Our results indicate that there are still areas that can be considered in the conservation of Alouatta pigra through ecotourism activities owing to the proximity to the Mayan archeological site Palenque 27 km away. Financial support from IDESMAC, AC and Instituto de Ecologia AC.