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Bowdoin College

Publication Date

Spring 2014

Program Name

Ecuador: Comparative Ecology and Conservation


The silvery woolly monkey, Lagothrix lagotricha poeppigii, is listed as vulnerable by CITES because of habitat degradation, hunting, and illegal trafficking; compounding this problem the monkeys do not successfully breed in captivity. Sumak Allpa, a non-profit foundation in Orellana, Ecuador, has established a rehabilitation program on Sumak Allpa Island to reintegrate monkeys into their natural habitat. A troop of three juvenile monkeys that had spent all but 3-5 months of their life in captivity was introduced to the island in September of 2012 and beginning April 14, 2014 the monkeys’ diet was assessed to determine the feasibility of removing human-provided food. The food provided was gradually reduced over the course of a week, and the monkeys’ reaction to this was monitored until May 3rd, when the study ended. The monkeys successfully transitioned into independence from human food sources, and their reaction to the reduced food supply was similar to that seen in woolly monkeys during times of reduced fruit abundance, with less time spent on social behavior and less time consuming insects. Their diet included 53 different plant species pertaining to 25 plant families. Of these, more than half the monkeys’ time eating was spent on cecropia, guava, donsel, abio, pambil, guayaba, and granadilla. The Cecropiaceae, Fabaceae, Arecaceae, Myrtaceae, Moraceae, and Sapotaceae families were most important in terms of time spent eating. The monkeys occupied a range of 25-30 Ha. The monkeys’ diet is comparable to L. poeppigii troops in nearby Yasuni National Park, and seasonal and habitat variation most likely account for most differences in diet.


Animal Sciences


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