Abstract # 28:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 17, 2010 03:15 PM-03:45 PM: Session 10 (Mezzanine Ballroom A/B/C/D) Oral Presentation


CONSERVATION OF WOOLLY MONKEYS IN COLOMBIA: EFFECTS OF FRAGMENTATION, HUNTING AND TAXONOMIC ISSUES

P. R. Stevenson Diaz, S. Botero and D. A. Zarate
Depto. Ciencias Biologicas, Universidad de Los Andes, Cr 1 no 18a-12, Bogota, D.C., Colombia
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Woolly monkeys are currently endangered and their conservation status varies depending on the taxonomy, which is still a matter of debate. Furthermore, they are rarely found in forest fragments. In this study we summarize the findings from studies aiming to examine the taxonomic status of two taxa present in Colombia and to explore the reasons why woolly monkeys are rarely found in fragments. We used a mitochondrial marker to assess the taxonomic status of six populations, including L.l. lugens (3) and L. l. lagothricha (3). We studied activity patterns, diet and fruit production in a forest patch (136 ha) in El Trueno Station, Guaviare Department, using focal animal sampling during one year. Parsimony and Bayesian phylogenetic analyses showed no monophyly between the two taxa, showing enough genetic exchange and suggesting that lagothrica and lugens should be treated as subspecies. Furthermore, coat color does not adequately characterize the phylogenetic history of the group and new traits should be found as diagnostic characters to distinguish subspecies. The behavior and diet of woolly monkeys in the fragment was in the range reported from populations in continuous forests, which seems to be associated with an intermediate level of fruit production in the fragment. We propose that the absence of woolly monkeys in forest fragments (at least in places with relatively high resource production) is caused by hunting.