To better understand the gallery forest where the Guaycolec owl monkeys live, the research team conducts monthly phenological monitoring of over 400 trees. By examining the abundance of new leaves, flowers and fruits and their monthly and seasonal changes we can develop a better understanding of how the conservation of the habitat may influence the well-being of the population.
Thus, a long-term study of phenology and forest dynamics is an integral part of the primate ecology and behavior studies being conducted in the Guaycolec Ranch.
The phenological study involves reviewing all of the marked trees in approximately 40 hectares of forest once a month and collecting detailed phenological data on leaf flush, flowering, and fruiting for each tree and other associated plant life forms. By examining plan growth, seed presence and animal consumption, we can monitor the growth and conservation of the forest.
Giant Armadillos have been signaled out as one of the highest conservation priorities in the Gran Chaco: they live in low densities, their land is fast disappearing to agriculture and they are hunted for consumption of their meat.
In 2004 and 2005, former Ph.D. student Natalia Ceresoli led a team in the Copo National Park (Santiago del Estero, Argentina) and in Pilcomayo National Park (Formosa, Argentina) to conduct census evaluation of the armadillo populations. The team used remote cameras and transect censuses to better understand the current conservation status of these Chacoan mammals.
Between 2003-2005, with the support of the Fundación ECO and various professional collaborators, Dr. Fernandez-Duque and the Owl Monkey Project team hosted four Conservation Courses at the Mirikina field site. The courses drew over 50 participants from seven countries; who worked to promote research and conservation in the Gran Chaco.
In 2003 and 2004, the Owl Monkey Project Team taught the first and second Latin American Primate Conservation Biology Field Courses in collaboration with CRES Scientist Dr. Pascal Gagneux, and New York University anthropology professor Dr. Tony Di Fiore. Students from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and the USA participated in these three-week courses, held in Formosa, Northern Argentina. Each year the course included lectures on primatology, ecology, physiology, genetics, and molecular biology. During the three weeks, students learned a variety of techniques crucially important for the study of wild primates. To name a few: behavioral data collection on wild owl and howler monkeys; radio telemetry; canopy access techniques; DNA extraction from various sources. As part of the courses, each student developed a grant proposal for a project and was coached in how to approach funding agencies, which fund research and in-situ conservation.
The Gran Chaco Wildlife Conservation and Management Training Course
Location: Formosa, Argentina
June 3-12, 2005
The Gran Chaco Wildlife Conservation and Management Training Course was organized by Fundación ECO in collaboration with the National Zoo’s Wildlife Conservation and Management Program (WCMTP). It was developed at the request of Argentine government and university officials to address the training needs of young government professionals and academics. This follow-up course aimed to provide course participants with hands-on experience in the management of natural resources; to introduce young professionals working in governmental offices to conservation biology science and research; to facilitate communication between scientists conducting research on natural resources and officials regulating the use of these resources; and to develop a working relationship between Fundación ECO and the local sponsors in order to strengthen future collaboration on conservation-oriented projects