Monday, January 31, 2011

Historias del mono Titi

Si miramos detenidamente la foto del abrazo cariñoso del macho y la hembra, haciendo unión de sus colas, nos hace soñar, desde cuando éramos niños, en el romanticismo de “vivir felices para siempre”, pero no todo es lo que parece. La vida del mono titi….es una novela con muchas historias por contar!!! Ellos viven en familia (al igual como nosotros) compuesto por mama, papa e hijos (hasta 5 miembros). Pero debajo de ese ambiente monógamo, se esconde como en las sociedades humanas los deseos de procrear con otro bien dotado vecino que se encuentra de repente y sin que se dé cuenta la pareja. Todo es emoción!!! Hay peleas entre familias vecinas, disputando el territorio y hay asesinatos de los hijos por sospecha de infidelidad, etc.…

También nos muestran la unión que hay dentro de la familia, mediante la unión de sus colas; o la unión de la pareja, mediante el canto a dúo, diciendo que este es nuestro territorio, o durante la fase de reproducción, donde el macho le da cortos besitos en la boca a la hembra, probando si ella está lista para él. El instinto maternal y paternal que aparece en el nacimiento de la cría y la reacción de los hermanos hacia el recién nacido, es todo una novedad etc. Además se ve el diario vivir de la familia de cómo usan los recursos del bosque para alimentarse y protegerse, como el uso de Piper como repelente de mosquitos. Todas esas historias y muchas más se pueden descubrir cuando se observan el diario vivir de estos monitos pequeños…..

Cada día, después de una larga jornada observando monos, llegan los Moneros a la casa, acobardados de los coros celestiales de los mosquitos, sudorosos por el calor húmedo propio de la región, entusiasmados por las nuevas historias que vieron en las familias de los monos y contentos de saber que le espera una piscina para refrescarse de la larga jornada en la Quinta Totaises.

Siempre viene la charla sobre lo que se vio: Fulanita engaño con Sutanito y que Menganito esposo de Sutanita, mato al hijito de Fulanita….etc…..todo acerca del último capítulo visto de la vida de las familias del mono titi…..y la ansiedad crece curiosos de saber como será el desenlace en el siguiente capítulo, para la mañana siguiente…..

Si quieres ser testigo de las historias de los monos, ven a ser parte de nuestro grupo los Moneros! Te Esperamos!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Meet Our Monkeys: GN

Inhabiting the small, but prime real estate between the territories of GE and G4 (roughly bound in by Sendero A, Kapora Trail, SenC, and SenD), you’ll find Group N, the titi family I had the privilege of studying in the fall field season of 2009.  Though shy and less vocal than their neighbors, I found this family to be interesting in its own right. Since the project first began to track the group in 2008, we have recorded the dispersal of their eldest offspring and the brief stay of a stranger individual (more on that later), as well as three births. The family unit currently consists of the mated pair, Carmen and Daniel, and their offspring, Kuara, Jasy, and Esperanzo.
GN Female: Carmen
Not very fond of outside company
As the head female of the family, and one who prefers to leave the child-rearing responsibilities to her mate, Carmen is the most vigilant of the group, and the one I found most difficult to be habituated. Naturally, she is my favorite. With an impressive swagger, hairs standing on end as she alerts her family of danger, Carmen can be an intimidating sight for a monkey of mere 12-inch stature. Even assuming a calm posture, her body is stocky when compared with G4’s slender Yuvinka, making it easy to tell the two matriarchs apart. Other distinguishing characteristics include deep-set eyes, and a scar on her left brow that lends her a disgruntled appearance (Note: this may no longer be useful, as her fur has likely filled in by now).
Carmen is usually found some distance apart from the rest of the group, though she remains attentive to their activity and intervenes when necessary. Such was the case when Daniel one day grew frustrated over efforts to wean Jasy off his back. The heavy weanling refused to locomote on his own, and when a fight broke out between the two, Carmen stepped in to physically reprimand Daniel, thus ending the scuffle and allowing father and son to reconcile with a brief grooming session.
GN Male: Daniel
Hanging out with subadult Kuara
GN Male Daniel is quite the handsome fellow. He can be distinguished from G4’s Casanova by the light gray grizzle on his forehead and at the bottom edge of his mane, while his prominent red coloration distinguishes him from GE’s Vicente. He has a cautious but calm demeanor, and is almost always found with his offspring in tow.  
GN Offspring: Kuara, October 2009
Kuara, November 2010 (photo: Daniel Kruemberg)
Kuara is currently the oldest of the family’s three offspring. His appearance has changed dramatically since I first observed him back in 2009 as a scrawny subadult. I am told that Jasy, who was born in August of that same year, and who I watched mature from an infant to a weanling, is now almost a subadult himself! It is amazing to see how quickly these monkeys grow. The newest addition to the GN family is Esperanzo, who holds title to the first Yvaga Guazu titi baby to be born last autumn in 2010.
GN Offspring: Jasy, December 2009
Jasy, November 2010 (photo: Daniel Kruemberg)
GN Offspring: Esperanzo, January 2011 (photo: Daniel Kruemberg)
 And now for the mystery… E (simply short for “Extra individual”) joined the GN family for just over two weeks beginning in late October 2009. Tagging along with the group, occasionally participating in grooming, feeding, and resting sessions (though never tail twining-- a titi bonding behavior whose human equivalent is hand holding), E was ousted shortly after being lightly wounded during a battle in the high canopy over Kapora Trail, a fight initiated by GN’s Carmen. While this may be another case of a dispersing young adult attempting to integrate into a neighboring group (as it was with G3’s Casanova and G4), it is possible that E is GN’s eldest offspring who, unable to successfully disperse, had returned to its natal group. This is a problem that in later years may become more common at our Yvaga Guazu field site. Because the forest fragment is so small, and is surrounded on all sides by rangeland and city infrastructure, there is little territory left unclaimed by the various growing titi groups inside the park. Dispersing young adults will have to fight it out to gain acceptance into an existing group, or risk going at it alone. 
Mystery Member: E, October 2009
GN Family tail-twining in the rain
Clues that make me think E is a returning offspring: With a very similar likeness to Carmen, E is bulky and gray overall, with only a slightly more orange forehead than the female. I also found the individual well socialized, as if E had experienced habituation before. As no other YG study group was missing a member at that time, there is a strong possibility that E is the GN subadult a previous field assistant had first recorded of the group back in 2008. Fortunately we can test for DNA from fecal samples collected of E and of the elder GN offspring to see if it is indeed the same individual. As of now, we are still waiting to hear on the results.  

The Stories Behind the Names:
Our human friends, Daniel and Carmen
-Camen and Daniel are named after a pair of professional photographers who have made their home at La Quinta. Over the course of four years, they have taken beautiful wildlife photographs for Bolivia’s national parks, and have worked with local conservation organizations to showcase the country’s unique biodiversity. I was lucky enough to see a photo exhibition put on by FAN-Bolivia right in the downtown Santa Cruz plaza, of which both Carmen and Daniel (as well as a couple other of our talented house residents!) took part. See the online version here: Check out more of their work here:
2009 FAN-Bolivia photo exhibition in the plaza: Celebrating 20 years of conservation work
My favorite image from the exhibit, Daniel's birds in the Patanal
-Kuara and Jasy are named after a pair of mischievous siblings from an old Guarani legend. In one version, the brothers, having grown tired of their adventures on earth, one day sought to touch that expansive ceiling that hung so far above them— that is, the sky. At this early point in time, there was no difference between day and night. The sky was white, and everything was grey, and life was difficult for humans. Undaunted, the clever siblings shot a series of arrows upward, one by one, until it formed a long rope with which they could climb. Their father, who had created them and was watching them from above, was quite impressed with their antics. When little Jasy, who had climbed first, reached out to touch the sky, he was immediately transformed into the moon. In trying to rescue his brother, the elder Kuara reached out and in that moment was transformed into the sun. The brothers have chased each other across the sky ever since, though neither one will ever catch up to the other. It is thanks to this pair that humankind can now see the transformed sky and appreciate the colorful and complex world that surrounds us.
Our little moon and sun
-Esperanzo was named by Sharon, a field assistant on the current titi monkey field team. She was present during the births of the 2010 babies, and spent some time following GN. In Spanish, “Esperanzo” means, “I give hope”—a lovely and fitting name, don’t you think?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Meet Our Monkeys: GE

Now it’s time for you to get acquainted with another one of our monkey families in Yvaga Guazu, group GE. This group is currently comprised of four individuals, Vicente the group patriarch, Elena the matriarch, Pedro a juvenile, and Denito the resident infant who was just born this past year. GE is one of the newest groups followed by the project, that has joined the ranks of well established families like G4 and G3. The group occupies a territory very close to the entrance of the park, and is therefore probably one of the most visible groups as far as tourists and park staff are concerned.

Main Road at the front of Yvaga Guazu

GE is a very recognizable group as all of the members are very gray in their coloring, even the male Vicente. This contrasts them with another group that shares some overlapping territory at the front of the park, G1. You’ll know when you see a member of G1 as opposed to GE, as not only will they probably be more fearful, and run in the direction of the chicken farm, but they will also be more reddish in color than any member of GE.

The shape of GE’s territory can be described as a large backwards “L.” The family occupies much of the front portion of the park, and has been spotted vocalizing and feeding in trees that are no fewer than 20 meters from the restaurant. When in the left front area of the park, GE usually moves no further back than the small lagoon, however they have been spotted past this on occasion, in a small ficus tree grove along the park’s left hand fence line. The family crosses the main road toward the housing complex using several familiar routes, the most common being the palm trees directly across from the guesthouse. The above mentioned area I consider the bottom of the “L,” and the side would be where the group was most commonly found, along Avenida flor de Azahar. In the time I spent with, GE I would say that 7 out of 10 times they could be found somewhere along this stretch of their territory, moving and feeding leisurely just outside or along the right hand fence line of the park. The family would generally go no further than the restrooms located just before the soccer field, but loved to frolic behind them in low lying trees. Here Vicente, Pedro, and Denito would commonly engage in a frisky game of tag, where Denito could safely explore, knowing that the ground was located only a short meter below him.

Fortunately, for a beginner like myself in the field of primate behavior, this charming little family was quite distinct in personality. While initially it was difficult to keep all four members in my line of sight I eventually recognized each individual based on their interactions, size, and personality. Because all the members are so gray, initially telling the male and female apart may be difficult especially if Denito is no longer piggybacking on ol’ dad. One feature that helped me to identify Vicente regularly was a small pink bald spot on the left side of his muzzle just above his nostrils. This may have been a transitory indicator and was likely a battle scar that has faded away now. Otherwise, Vicente is redder along his stomach and legs than any other member, and also has the subtle “mane” that distinguishes males of the species. Elena and Pedro don dark “masks” around their eyes and prominent light gray, almost white markings around these which enhance their cheeks and the area above their noses (Pedro’s is more distinct and lighter…for now).

Fearless Elena

Just hanging out, Elena (below) and Pedro (above)

Elena is the most outgoing and fearless of the group, and would often times come as close as one meter from me while feeding. The indifference she shows while being in the midst of a human presence has led Kim to believe that she may be the offspring of a previously habituated group that other titi assistants have worked with in the past (hopefully we can determine her family tree with genetic samples that have been collected). Elena was also distinct as she, more than any other member of the family, was constantly feeding. This was presumably because she was not only nourishing herself during the autumn of 2010, but also Denito. Pedro was the second most habituated monkey of the group, and unlike Elena who seemed to take no interest in me, he was constantly torn between feelings of curiosity and fear. Usually curiosity won out, and Pedro would come as close to me as his mother, and would stare, cocking his head curiously to the side like a dog. During the time I followed GE, Vicente was the most reserved of the group and kept the greatest distance from the observer. I assume this stems from his protective instincts during a time in which infant Denito was most vulnerable, and relied mostly upon Vicente for transportation and protection. As far as movement and proximity, Elena often decides when the group will move on and leads the way. She can sometimes be found alone several trees away from the group, but stays nearby. In contrast, Vicente takes up the rear of the group and is very cautious, checking for anything unusual before he moves from a familiar tree onto an open path.

While this group likely is confronted by human presence more on a daily basis than any other group in the park I found it difficult at first to view them regularly and at a close proximity. While it seems counter intuitive, I believe it may be more difficult to gain the trust of this group based on the fact that they are constantly bombarded by noisy groups of school children and men with weed whackers on a daily basis. I believe GE has developed an interesting strategy to cope with living in the area most frequented by humans, which has thus far served them well. Generally GE when traveling long distances or taking part in any activities that leave them vulnerable (play, grooming, etc.) within their territory, spend much time both along the fence lines or just outside of the park boundaries. They also seem to spend much of their time in trees that are taller than those in the back area, which is composed of secondary growth forest.

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of working with GE
-Groups of school children that pass through the park almost daily at 10am and 4pm are almost always a good way to lose sight of the group, so be extra vigilant during these times!

-Park staff can also sometimes cause the group to spook and run when they otherwise wouldn’t; One extremely memorable incident occurred when two men were hacking down an stump within 10 meters of the family with a chain saw…not conducive to observing the group behave naturally

-Taller trees which provide a safe haven from visitors, at the front of the park prevent one from getting
as close and personal to GE, as you might be able to with groups in the back of the park

Some of the park's spectacular flora

-Located in the beautifully landscaped area of Yvaga Guazu, GE’s territory is filled with constantly blooming flowers and a diverse variety of flora

-GE’s territory is very open, so there is no underbrush to crawl through, and no paths to cut
-This makes following the group exceptionally easy and losing them once you find them next to impossible

-GE is the only group we study at the front of the park, so confusing these guys with other groups is impossible, that’s a big plus when you’re just starting out!

Just another lazy day at Yvaga Guazu

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Trip to Abasto

As a vampira (more on this later), it is difficult to imagine being in Bolivia without regular visits to Casa del Camba (an amazing local restaurant where beef is pretty much the only item on the menu) and street markets, particularly 7 Calle, for blood sausage. I’m not so carnivorous while in the states, usually confining feedings to chicken and fish. Something about Bolivia brings out my inner vampire though! It is probably because it is simply some of the best beef in the world. Whether local or imported from Argentina, once you've had it, US beef is off the menu!

This said, the fruits and veg in Bolivia are beautiful. Everything is giant compared to what we can buy in the states and ALL natural. A trip to the open markets should be on every visitors’ “to do” list. My favorite is Abasto but you can pick up fresh, natural produce on just about any street corner for next to nothing. 

Below are scenes from a shopping trip to Abasto. It's super for photography as well, vibrant color and beautiful, fascinating people.

Great artists at work

Santa Cruz: A Carnivore’s Paradise

Are you contemplating joining the Titi monkey project? Perhaps you’ve made your decision and are making final arrangements to travel to Bolivia, like getting your yellow fever shot or making sure to arm yourself with a small arsenal of bug spay. Either way, once you have finished daydreaming about traversing the jungle in hot pursuit of Titi monkeys and exploring South America via motorcycle, your mind my may shift to more practical matters. Now, you may be wondering the same thing I was before I left…what am I going to be eating in Bolivia? If you are an adventurous eater like myself, then you will have nothing to worry about, and indeed will probably discover some new dishes that will leave you longing for your days at Quinta Totaices. The primary thing for you to know about food in Santa Cruz is that…meat is king! But don’t be discouraged vegetarians, it can be done! Check out my counterpart’s piece on, “A Vegetarian’s Survival Guide,” Sharon has been getting along just fine here and so have many vegetarians (and even a vegan!) before her. Here however, I’ll be exploring Bolivia’s beefier side, and showcasing dishes you won’t want to miss during your stay!

The first meaty main course I had the pleasure of sinking my fangs…errr teeth into is a popular Bolivian dish called Pique Macho. This dish consists of grilled beef and sausage, with potatoes, onions, tomatoes, and locoto (chili peppers) which give it a nice spicy kick! Pique macho reminds me of a spicy tomato based stew. My version from Café 24 was adorned with fresh cheese, boiled egg, olives and served atop a healthy portion of French fries. You can expect to pay about 45bs for this dish, and keep in mind that it is typically served in heaping portions, so that one can usually enjoy 2-3 more meals at home from one order! While I highly recommend Café 24 for this dish, I have also heard that the Irish Pub serves Pique Macho to die for. However, the best Pique Macho I had throughout my stay was one prepared especially for me, in honor of my departure! Thank you so much Christelle, for all the hard work and a delicious meal!

If you are looking for a typical camba (Eastern Lowlands) dining expedience, then look no further than Casa de Camba. This restaurant is mentioned in the Lonely Planet guidebooks and is an eatery that everyone should check out at least once during their stay in Santa Cruz. Fortunately for me, plans were already in place to visit this lively joint while I was still bumbling about trying to figure out which micros to take from the city center to get here. The main event at Casa de Camba is…you guessed it…the meat! Almost everyone in our party ordered the Parrillada (mixed grill) to share with a friend or two. I was somewhat daunted by the prospect of the Parrillada, as all day I had been hearing comments like, “We can split the heart,” and “I don’t really care for uterus.” While internally I was shuddering, and recalling the monkey brain scene from Indiana Jones in vivid detail, outwardly I put on my game face and prepared myself to sample some new dishes!

When ordering the mixed grill you can expect several sides, or smaller courses before and accompanying your grilled feast. The first is a plate a fried yucca, served with onions, and a spicy green concoction. Additionally you will receive a salad and two varieties of rice, one regular and an arroz con queso, to share with your grill mates.

The main course arrives still sizzling atop the grill and is placed right in the center of your table. It includes the usual suspects, like steak and sausage, but there are also some less commonly served beef items like heart, intestines, and udder. A Parrillada for two will definitely suffice for three, and even though some less appealing items remained at the end of our dining experience, there was nothing left on the grill that I left untried. Overall Casa de Camba was a great experience, fabulous food in a festive environment!

More than likely, you will be looking for a more casual dining atmosphere some nights of your stay in Bolivia. Perhaps you would like to stop for a quiet lunch on your way home from the field; or find a neighborhood café that is only a short walk from the house on nights you can’t bring yourself to cook. Never fear, for the streets of Santa Cruz are lined with little gems where you can find cheap and quick eats. The most common of these is the chicken joint. You can find these under a variety of names, like Pollos Kristy or Hong Kong Pollo, but the concept is pretty much the same. One can pay 7bs (economico) or 15bs (cuarto) for a more generous portion of pollo a la brasa (roasted chicken) or pollo broaster (fried chicken). Usually one of these plates includes some combination of rice, French fries, plantains, or noodles depending upon where you to chose to dine. Don’t forget to try the pale yellow curry sauce that comes on the side, yumm! You can also find many restaurants around the neighborhood that serve your basic hamburger, and lomitos. A lomito is a steak sandwich arranged with lettuce, tomato, and onions served atop a French baguette style piece of bread. Word around the house is that Josue, located right across the main street from Quinta serves the best lomito around…if you’re really hungry try a doble!

Hopefully you will be lucky enough, during your stay at Quinta Totaices, to participate with the residents in a Sunday barbecue. A simple meal, but one that I must admit, has been my favorite dining experience thus far in Bolivia. While the main focus of the grill session was the chicken, steak, and sausages, what I found most intriguing and delicious were the nonmeat items featured. Grilled pumpkin and squash added some much needed punches of color to the table, and sautéed eggplant gave the vegetarians in attendance even more options. For dessert we enjoyed a simple but ingenious treat, grilled bananas that had been slit down one side, exposing a small pocket for drizzling honey. The warm banana with a hint of sweet honey was a perfect conclusion to the meal. I can’t wait to get home and try this trick with chocolate sauce, or brown sugar and ice cream!

One of my Bolivian roommates confided in me the other day, “I would like to move outside of Bolivia at some point, but I think I will miss the food. I think in other places they eat more vegetables,” I couldn’t help but smile and nodded, confirming his suspicions. It was a perfect summation of my experience with the carnivorous cuisine of Bolivia, and a clear indication that Santa Cuz residents would have it no other way.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Being vegetarian in a meat loving country

If you are a vegetarian, you are probably not really waiting to eat your tasty veggies in front of a grill full of meat, blood sausage, heart, intestines and cow boobs. Well, it happens.Some people in Bolivia find it very hard to understand the concept of being vegetarian. No meat?! How strange, why on earth would you even consider such a thing? Even if you ask for a meatless meal they manage to slip some on the side. It makes you paranoid, and even fried bananas are regarded with great caution. Or perhaps that is just me?! But it is not all bad, that is for sure! The veggies and fruits are very tasty and inexpensive. And guess what, there are even vegetarian restaurants in the centre with delicious food (Vida Y Salud Ayacucho 444; Cuerpo Y Mente, Velasco 358; …). Even in the normal restaurants they have at least one vegetarian option and in the smaller restaurants around the Quinta they will prepare some non meat dish on request.

There are also veggie traditional foods: cheese empanadas, humintas (mashed corn and cheese in a corn leaf), sonso (mashed yucca and cheese on a stick), arroz con queso, cuñapé (cheese bread balls, see recipe below), the smoothies and juices of all the fruits you can imagine and so much more. If you want to cook, you will find everything you need: besides the vegetables you can find lots of different beans, quinoa (see recipe below) and even (dried) soya meat.
Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) is one of the most interesting South American seeds because of the high mineral and vitamin content, including magnesium and iron. The Incas referred to it as chisaya mama or 'mother of all grains'. Yucca (Manihot esculenta) is a root rich in starch and calcium and is very abundant in South America. It can be used as flour, or on its whole baked, fried or boiled so it is very diverse in use.
Expect people trying to convince you to become a vampire or carnivore (again). If you are not showing the slightest hesitation people will assume you are a secret meat eater at night. We all have our secrets, no? Although they say it is impossible to keep secrets at the Quinta…

Cuñape is a salty snack eaten at tea time. The name has an origin in one of the Indian languages still spoken in Bolivia, Guaraní. Cuña means "woman" and pé means “breast”. The baked canapés form little bubbles that could look like a woman’s breast.
1 cup yucca (manioc) starch
3 cups of white cheese
1 egg

Salt, water and milk as needed

Crumble the cheese into a big mixing bowl (it should crumble easily) and add the yucca starch and egg and a little salt. Knead it with your hands until you have a dough-like consistency. At this point, if it's too dry, you can add some milk or water.

Make little balls of the dough and insert your thumb into the bottom to make a hole. Place them on top of a non stick or a floured plate. Let them rest for 15 minutes.

Place them in the oven between 15-20 minutes, 350°F or 175°C.

QUINOA QUICHE (5 portions)

300 grams quinoa grains
100 grams shredded cheese

2 medium onions
2 peeled tomatoes
2 sprigs of parsley
3 tablespoons of ground red or yellow chili pepper
Garlic, spices and salt to taste

Boil the quinoa grains until they are thick mushy (2 cups of water for one cup of quinoa)

Cook the oil, finely chopped onion, garlic, chopped parsley, and hot peppers for 10 minutes. Grease an appropriately sized baking pan. Mix the cooked quinoa with half the shredded cheese and spread half of this mixture on the bottom of the baking pan. On top, place the filling and distribute it along the entire surface. Sprinkle this with the remaining shredded cheese. Cover this with the remaining quinoa covering the entire surface uniformly.

Place it in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes until the surface has browned

Buen provecho!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Meet Our Monkeys: Group 4

Steffen and Casanova holding Tango
Tango ~ 10 weeks of age

Happy New Year! I would like to introduce you to Group 4 (G4). G4 is perhaps my favorite titi family. They were the first to be habituated and, in my opinion, are the most charismatic of the titi families at Yvaga Guazu and Jardin Botanico. We began studying this family when it consisted of only the mated pair, Steffen and Yuvinka, and have since recorded 4 births, a mate switch, and a death. In chronological order, Samba is the oldest offspring, followed by Salsa, Tango and Bachata. All monkeys are named after dear friends, family or activities of considerable interest, such as Latin dance!  Steffen was the original patriarch of the group and the first monkey I met at Yvaga Guazu. He was a very long, lean and regal looking monkey. He fathered, or was at least caretaker of, the three oldest offspring. The autumn (spring in Bolivia) of 2009 proved to be quite traumatic for the family as Steffen was ousted by Casanova, a younger male from the neighboring group (G3). The transition was not easy and both males fought vigorously to maintain or obtain paired status. Both males were also keen to care for the newly born Tango. In titi monkeys, males are the primary caregivers, carrying and playing with the offspring roughly 90% of the time. Casanova and Steffen would take turns carrying the infant, sometimes even jointly holding it while in resting position. While seemingly cooperative, the behavior likely reflects confusion on part of the males. The naughty or wise, depending on one’s perspective, Yuvinka had likely mated with both males leading to joint investment. Tango’s paternity is not yet known. This is being sorted out by Dr. Alison French Doubleday in her genetic lab at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Yuvinka’s preference for the younger Casanova was obvious as she repeatedly physically acted Steffen, driving him first to the boundary of the group and eventually out in December of 2009. Steffen has not been seen since. He is likely deceased, as certainly we would have spotted him in the small forest fragment of Yvaga Guazu. We like to think, however, that he has retired to a quiet spot in the back of the chicken farm (more on this later).
Group 4 suffered another lose in the autumn of 2010 as Samba, Yuvinka’s oldest offspring, was killed in a dispute over mangos. The mango patch is a highly contested area for all the monkey residents of Yvaga Guazu and the neighboring chicken farm. RIP Samba. We are certainly saddened by the loss.

With death there is life and as such, the autumn of 2010 brought a new member to G4, Bachata. Bachata is doing well and is being followed regularly by Sharon Schillewaert, a very devoted Belgian research assistant. Sharon has been away over the holidays but will return soon to update us on the happenings of this group. Please stay tuned! Pics of Yuvinka and Bachata coming soon.

Titi Factoids:
Titi monkeys (Genus Callicebus) are monogamous, considered to be perhaps the most monogamous of all primate species.  A group or family consists of the mated pair (adult male/female or mom and dad) plus offspring. Observations in 2009, however, revealed that extra-pair copulations (adultery, cuckoldry to some) do occur in this genus. Their pair bond still remains one of the strongest in the animal kingdom.

DISCLAIMER: The behavior of these monkeys is by no means a reflection of the behavior of their namesakes. All monkeys are named after people for whom we show considerable respect and affection J

RIP Samba

Salsa ~ 2 years of age