In mid-November I spent several days in our Rio Zunac Reserve doing some planning for a research project by Greg Asner and his associates at the Carnegie Institution for Science. This exciting research will use the Carnegie Airborne Observatory. It will transform the way we look at our forest and reveal its relationships to the forests of the rest of Ecuador. Once it gets underway I’ll devote many posts to it. (My friend Glenda Mendieta-Leiva told me the people at her university gave Asner the nickname “Jesus” because it seems like a miracle that anybody could do so much exciting research!)
But today I just want to write about an encounter I had as I was leaving the reserve. I bumped into one of our troops of Woolly Monkeys, a very rare mountain population that I wrote about recently. They behaved fairly calmly, first giving some alarm calls, but then going about their business with little concern for me. It was an extended (though sparse) group; I could see some trees shaking from their movements up to a kilometer away on the other side of the valley. I saw a shy mother with her baby on her back…
…and then a bigger one (male?) came forward. This one had a large black “chest beard” or half-mane. I was able to make some more-or-less adequate photos of it through the vegetation. As always, click on any of these images to enlarge, and use the Back arrow to return to this post.
These pictures aren’t as good as the ones I posted earlier taken by our reserve guards (I’ve added another great photo of theirs at the end of this post), but it seemed worthwhile to document this dramatic hairiness. There are a few pictures on the internet showing this black fringe, but most don’t show it.
Here is a much better photo of a Woolly Monkey taken by reserve guard Fausto Recalde. This one also seems to have the fringe of long hairs on its chest, though it is not as conspicuous.
P.S. Fausto Recalde just came back from the Rio Zunac Reserve with some more photos of these monkeys, probably the same group I photographed: