Saving the Spider Monkey
Sometimes saving one animal has a knock on effect resulting in the protection of many more species. This is particularly the case for the spider monkeys Ateles geoffroyi living on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica. This area contains three isolated patches of tropical forest, where the spider monkey population is isolated to just one patch, a national park. This results in low gene flow and critically low population densities. This also restricts the monkeys' seed dispersal of hundreds of tree species, and therefore every smaller animal that lives on them. Now we see how important one species can be.
Jenna Lawson from Imperial College London is working on a project to save the spider monkey by reconnecting these forests with a biological corridor. This is no easy task, and requires working with local people, and local authorities to educate them about the importance of this forest connectivity. Firstly she must collect data about the spider monkey populations, dietary requirements, land use, and effects of hunting, before moving to authorities with solid evidence to begin the building of a biological corridor. Follow her progress on this page for updates and further details.