Home Institution

Duke University

Publication Date

Fall 2016

Program Name

Ecuador: Comparative Ecology and Conservation


The lowland woolly monkey (Lagothrix lagotricha poeppigii) is vulnerable due to various human pressures, as they are especially sensitive to stress and habitat degradation. Due to their low rate of success in captivity, the few institutions that have tried to create and maintain breeding populations for conservation purposes are no longer able or willing to do so. Sumak Allpa, an NGO in the Orellana province of the Ecuadorian Amazon, currently has the only repopulation project in Ecuador with the long-term goal of maintaining a reproductive population and releasing groups of woolly monkeys back into the wild. In a 21-day study, we investigated intertroop interactions, territory distribution and overlap, and sexual behavior of 2 troops of lowland woolly monkeys on the island of Sumak Allpa to determine the progress towards a reproductive population. The troops consist of an adult troop, with one adult male, and a juvenile troop, with two juvenile males. In recent months, the troop territories have had significant more overlap, and dispersion of females between the troops has begun, possibly due to the sexual maturation of a juvenile male. This study confirmed that juvenile male is copulating with multiple females, whereas there is no evidence that the adult male has been reproductive. Results may suggest that the adult male is hindering success of the reproduction of the population, and consequentially, he may be removed from the island to further the goals of the project.


Animal Sciences | Community-Based Learning | Latin American Studies | Life Sciences | Other Animal Sciences | Zoology


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