LOCATION: Punta Burica, Costa Rica
TARGET SPECIES: Panamanian red spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi panamensis), squirrel monkey (Saimiri oerstedii oerstedii), Mantled Howler Monkey (Alouatta palliata) and White Throated Capuchin Monkey (Cebus capucinus capucinus)

The project at Punta Burica, Costa Rica began when Gabriel Schmerler of the Yoga Farm sent out a request for help for primate conservation in the Punta Banco area of Costa Rica. Katie Mann responded and did her thesis investigating the possibility for a primate conservation program at Punta Banco.

Primates of Punta Burica

Panamanian Red Spider Monkey (Ateles geoffroyi panamensis)

The Panamanian Red Spider Monkey called locally mono arana, mono Colorado, or münchi, they are endangered and locally threatened by hunting and the fragmentation of habitat. They are hunted for food and medicine.

These animals are a rare sight in the study area and are the most threatened by local extirpation of all the monkeys that reside here. There may only be less than 30 animals but recently the Guaymi have pledged to no longer hunt them.

Central American Squirrel Monkey (Saimiri oerstedii oerstedii)

The endangered black-crowned Central American squirrel monkey (Saimiri oerstedii oerstedii) called locally mono titi or droäba are endemic to southwest Costa Rica and northwest Panama. They are commonly seen in areas inhabited by humans, as they prefer disturbed habitats. They are locally threatened by the rise in tourism and the complete destruction of habitat.

Mantled Howler Monkey (Alouatta palliata)

The Mantled Howler Monkey (Alouatta palliata) called locally mono congo or jüri are commonly seen and heard in this study site. Although they are not a preferred food source for the locals, they are hunted for food and medicine due to the decline in spider monkeys.

White Throated Capuchin Monkey (Cebus capucinus capucinus)

The White Throated Capuchin Monkey (Cebus capucinus capucinus) called mono cara blanca, mono bravos or droä are commonly seen at this study site but they are hunted as agricultural pests.

Location of Punta Burica and the Indigenous Reserve.

In 2006, after Katie took the Community Conservation course offered at the Society for Conservation Biology meeting, she and Director Rob Horwich decided to work together. With a grant from the Primate Conservation, Inc., Katie
began the project in 2007. Four initial aspects of the project are 1) survey of the four primate species, 2) work with the Guaymi landowners to form a management group to protect their Indigenous Reserve, 3) create vegetation and landowner maps, 4) create education/awareness programs.

Horwich made a site visit in February 2007 and he and Katie Mann attended a general meeting held at the school in the Rio Coco area of the Guaymi Indigenous Reserve. Approximately 60 adults mainly Guaymi with some Costa Rican and foreign landowners attended. Recently 12 Guaymi volunteers have signed up as COVIRENA volunteers. This is a program instituted by the Costa Rica Ministry of the Environment (MINAE) will give the volunteers formal authority to protect their lands.

Most of these volunteers attended the meeting. Additionally, volunteers of another group in the southern part of the Reserve from Corona also attended the meeting. So informally, the project will be working with the Tico and foreign landowners of Punta Banco, the Guaymi community at Rio Coco and the additional group of Guaymi volunteers from Corona.

Guaymi woman speaking at the February 2007 meeting at the Rio Coco area of the Guaymi Indigenous Reserve.