Ecuador: monkeys, trees, chocolate and conservation

Posted on January 30, 2017 • Filed under: Ecuador, Enviromental Issues reported Mika Peck, a conservation ecologist at England’s University of Sussex, was frustrated. He’d been researching and publishing papers for years on the near-extinction of the Ecuadoran brown-headed spider monkey, and not much was happening to change the primate’s extremely threatened status.

Not much, that is, until he started connecting the monkeys to gourmet chocolate.

Both monkeys and cacao flourish in the Chocóan rain forests of northwestern Ecuador (el Chocó)­, part of a rain forest network that runs along the Pacific Coast, from Panama to Peru. El Chocó is home to about two-thirds of the brown-headed spider monkey population, but that population is dwindling. The environmental group Rainforest Trust estimates that there are only about 250 brown-headed spider monkeys left on the planet, making them among the most endangered primates ever recorded.

That’s because locals in this remote region, trying to earn a living over the past few decades, cut down the trees for lumber that the spider monkeys relied on for shelter and food. And subsistence farmers routinely cut wide swaths through the forest to plant cacao. The monkeys, who live most of their lives in the high canopy of the rain forest, became more vulnerable to predators, including humans, who hunt these fruit-eaters for their meat. Read Full Article

Share This Story
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Add to favorites
  • email