By Caroline Seng
Buff-headed capuchins are the rarest species of New-world primate. Their elusive nature and disturbingly low numbers results in less-than-adequate research opportunities. The scant research accumulated indicates that buff-headed capuchins are exclusively located in mature, old-growth forests and avoid habitat influenced by humans. Very little is known of their ecology. Studies on other capuchin species indicate that a majority of daylight hours are spent foraging. Research must therefore be conducted to define the relationship between movement and foraging.
In my proposed study, individuals from different social groups will be tagged with radio-GPS collars and their movements tracked over a period of time to determine daily and seasonal movement patterns. Many non-invasive analysis techniques, including radar tracking and surveying, will be employed to gather data on the relationship between movement and foraging. This new information can be used to inform conservation decisions. Conserving this species of capuchin will preserve a crucial link to the human evolutionary past.