Did you know that there are more than 400 primate species on Earth?
Yes, more than 400 primate species!
And did you know that about 65% of them live in only four countries?
With 102 primate species Brazil is at the top of the list followed by Madagascar with 100, Indonesia with 48, and the Democratic Republic of Kongo with 36 primate species.
On the first sight, these statistics look amazing for these four countries.
However, 60% of all these primates in Brazil, Madagascar, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Kongo are either “Threatened“, “Endangered“ or “Critically Endangered“ according to the World Conservation Union IUCN.
On my trip to Brazil in March and April in 2018 I encountered several primate species which are listed in one of these categories:
Golden lion tamarins (“Endangered“).
Crested capuchins (“Endangered“).
And Southern muriquis (“Critically Endangered“, seen in the photograph)
Of course, as Brazil is still so rich in biodiversity, I met many more monkeys. Be it common marmosets, or white-headed marmosets, but also black capuchins.
However, as the conservation statuses of the three first-mentioned monkeys are very concerning, these wildlife encounters were for me the most special ones on my journey through the south of Brazil.
Especially, as they are endemic to the Atlantic Forest in the southeast of Brazil. That means, they only occur in these areas and not anywhere else on earth.
Although their conservation status is very worrisome, I also met groups of people that put all their efforts in the conservation of these monkeys. In Rio de Janeiro I met the people from the Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado and in São Paulo I met the members of the Associação Pró-Muriqui. All of them made me feel more optimistic about the future of these animals due to their conservation efforts.
On my blog Wildlife Travel I want to share the story of these animals.
And I want to achieve that more people care about monkeys and other wildlife.
I especially want to write about animals that need more attention.
Animals that many people don’t know like, for example, the muriquis.
I don’t want a future with animals just in zoos.
As I believe that if people learn more about all the animals that live around us, they are more willed to protect them.
Nevertheless, I haven’t met “just“ monkeys in Brazil.
In Itacuruçá (south of Rio de Janeiro) I participated in a dolphin watching tour in the Sepetiba Bay, as there lives a group of Guiana dolphins.
The tour was organized by the Instituto Boto Cinza.
Although I always enjoy whale or dolphin watching tours, on that day I became very concerned about these dolphins in Brazil. The biologists of the institute told us about several recent deaths of Guiana dolphins in the Sepetiba Bay.
Unfortunately, they could not give us a clear answer in that moment why so many dolphins had died.
Maybe a virus was responsible for the death of so many dolphins?
But why had died so many dolphins in those weeks?
Is it because of the increasing industrialization in the Sepetiba Bay which makes the dolphins more susceptible to diseases?
As this story was the most worrisome for me during my journey in Brazil, I especially hope that many people learn more about these dolphins as the loss of biodiversity is in my opinion one of the greatest challenge we face nowadays.
However, I also had some wildlife encounters in Brazil which did not leave me with so many worries, but more with amazement.
I just have to mention all those wonderful birds Brazil has to offer.
In the Itatiaia National Park in Rio de Janeiro I encountered a great variety of different bird species.
Birds I had seen for the first time in my life.
I have to admit that I did not know many names of the birds I encountered. But I shared my wildlife encounters on a citizen science platform where I got so much help to identify all the animals I saw.
In one occasion, an insect specialist made me even aware of the largest fly (Gauromydas heros) I encountered in a forest in Minas Gerais where I was actually searching (unsuccessfully) for northern muriquis (the second muriqui species which is also critically endangered).
I did not know that in the moment I encountered this fly.
In Brazil I had so many awe-inspiring moments and I’m sure, that journey was not the last one… I’m already looking forward to explore more forests and waters in Brazil…
Resources: DOI 10.7717/peerj.4869
- Tanja Heinz
- : Biologist and teacher
- : https://wildlife-travel.com/en/
- : https://www.facebook.com/wildlifetravelblog
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- : Read more about monkeys, whales and dolphins and other wildlife on my blog...
- : adult_(19_and_over_as_of_31st_december_2019)
- : This is the first time this story has been published.