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Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno)

Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno) - male Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno) - male Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno) - female Interesting facts: Their habitat is montane cloud forest from Southern Mexico to western Panama.  The male has a helmet-like crest.  Depending on the light its feathers can shine in a variant of colors from green-gold to blue-violet.  In breeding males, tail coverts are longer than the rest of the body.  It is classified as near threatened due to habitat loss.

Featured species: Panamanian Night Monkey (Aotus zonalis)

The Panamanian Night Monkey (Aotus zonalis), also known as Panamanian Owl Monkey, is a species of primate that lives from Panama to the Chocó region of Colombia, with reports of its incidence on the Caribbean coasts of Costa Rica. It is found preferably in mature forests and secondary, humid and very humid forests, from the lowlands up to 1000 m (3,280 ft) of altitude. It can also be found in altered forests, dry forests, forest plantations, coffee crops and mangroves.

Panamanian Night Monkey (Aotus zonalis) 

This monkey is arboreal and completely nocturnal. During the day they sleep or rest inside holes in trees and palms or in beds of leaves between the branches. At night they move through their territory on their four legs, although they are able to jump or run when necessary and rarely fall to the ground. Feeding mainly of fruits, leaves, nectar, flowers and insects.

Panamanian Night Monkey (Aotus zonalis) has large eyes, suitable for the nocturnal lifestyle

It is one of the few monogamous monkeys, the couple usually has only one infant per year, although occasionally they have twins. Live in small groups between two to six animals, this consists of a couple of adults, several young and subadults. Groups are territorial and occupy territories that overlap slightly with other groups. In this case the nest was occupied by three individuals: two adults and their one year old young. 

Panamanian Night Monkey (Aotus zonalis)

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), there is not enough information on this species, and therefore it is difficult to establish if there are significant threats that have caused losses in the population. However, in Panama, the loss of forests and illegal traffic are two of the threats that this species suffers, and Panamanian scientists (FCPP) consider it as near threatened or likely to qualify as threatened in the near future.

Proyecto Conservación Aotus - FCPP

These photos were possible thanks to biology undergraduate student Pedro Armando González, who directs the Aotus Conservation Project in Coclé Province. A project associated to Fundación Pro-Conservación Primates Panameños (FCPP), and the first time this primate species is studied in the wild in Panama.

Researcher checking if the camera trap is working correctly

Orion Camera System developed by FCPP is used in this case to study the nest situated in the mid canopy at about 10 meters (33 ft) high

Pedro has been able to record and study these monkeys thanks to a camera trap. This kind of camera is equipped with a sensor that allows to capture wild animals on film when the researchers are not present. In this case, Pedro is using a new method to install trap cameras in the canopy, developed by FCPP for the study of primates and other mammals, known as Orion Camera System (OCS). With this system, FCPP invented the first method to place digital and automatic cameras in the treetops without the need to climb, more than 12 meters high. The applications of this method include studies of nest ecology, one of the researches that Pedro has being doing.

As part of the research Pedro records activity patterns of the subjects, including which fruits and flowers they eat, when they are active, and when they leave and enter the nest.

Pedro also researches seedlings that grow below and around the nest due to seed propagation product of Panamanian Night Monkeys’ diet. This will provide scientists a better knowledge of their diet and how they help to reforest their habitat.


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