Black-capped Squirrel Monkey

Yesterday we went to Yvaga Guazu, an ecological park outside of the city, located on the highway to the foothills of the Andes. The owner has a large property that has an extensive plant collection in front, all identified. If you are looking to learn more of tropical garden plants or local trees, this is a good place to go.

The back of the 14-hectare property is still tropical lowland forest and we spotted two troops of monkeys, Capuchin (Cebus) and as pictured above, the Black-capped Squirrel Monkey (Saimiri boliviensis). I was able to photograph the squirrel monkeys (above and below) but not the Cebus. There are six different species of squirrel monkeys and all are similar. They are differentiated through genetics, fur color patterns and range.

The squirrel monkey is adaptable to a variety of habitats, including secondary or disturbed forest. Unfortunately, they are commonly caught and sold as pets. When I was teaching here in Santa Cruz in the late 90s,we found an escaped pet on campus and we kept it in the classroom for a few days before giving it to a reserve. They are very cute and gregarious, so I can see why they are so popular.

We encountered a troop of about 5-7 individuals that were fairly low in a stand of young palm trees. I will upload the video later.


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