Abstract # 62:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 17, 2011 05:30 PM-05:45 PM: Session 12 (Meeting Room 410) Oral Presentation


N. A. Reagan, C. J. Campbell and D. Essiambre
California State University Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, CA 91330, USA

The Azuero spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi azuerensis) is an IUCN critically endangered subspecies living in the most heavily deforested area of Panama. A survey was conducted in the Los Santos region of Panama to understand the effects of habitat loss on Azuero spider monkeys. We predicted spider monkeys would be found in areas abundant with large fruiting trees and in areas furthest from human encroachment, as they are intermittently hunted. We conducted our survey in fragments with large fruiting trees and/or where local informants have reported seeing them. Our study of 2.5 months used GPS technology to record locations where we found monkeys and, GIS technology to determine the size and shape of fragments and corridors. An estimated 141 individuals were found in 15 distinct forest patches. The density of spider monkeys was high in fragments, with a mean of 25.74 monkeys per km/sq and the mean size of forest fragments was 0.5 km/sq. However, the density of monkeys throughout the total study site (241 km/sq) was only .59 monkeys per km/sq. This study further illustrates that fragmented forests experience a density increase despite the fact that the regional population density is low. Most fragments are along the Oria River in remote areas, far from human encroachment. Our data will be used to implement effective conservation strategies on both the local and national scale.