Meet the Ecuadorian White-fronted Capuchin
While exploring along one of our trails close to the lodge, our guides Néstor and Anderson along with guests spotted a White Capuchin Monkey, a critically endangered species. Mashpi is home of the White-fronted Capuchin or Ecuadorian Capuchin (Cebus aequatorialis), which lives mainly on the coast of Ecuador. Its habitat is being destroyed at very accelerated rate (over 80% in the past 48 years, Cornejo & de la Torre, 2015), and it’s threatened by constant hunting pressure. That's why a sighting like this is of great value to the Mashpi Reserve!
These monkeys feed on fruits, seeds, bananas, corn and cacao; and also some arthropods like wasps. They are very attentive to human presence which becomes evident in their behavior: they observe humans closely and often screech alarm and escape calls.
A few months ago Nestor and Anderson took some pictures and a video of this enigmatic animal on one of our trails.
This is an important record for this species, because very little is known about their actual distribution and their population status, In part because now the forest were they live is very fragmented. This makes Mashpi is one of the few places where you can still find these monkeys.
Fortunately this critically endangered species has great potential to recover, partly because of its ability to adapt to a variety of habitats and types of food, which would allow them not only to live in protected areas, but also establish themselves in disturbed areas too. For this to happen, awareness among local communities is crucial to prevent hunting, capture for the illegal pet trade or harassment by farmers to prevent monkeys raids their crops (Jack & Campos, 2012).
One of the things that make Mashpi special is that over 70% of our employees are from the surrounding communities. They are our true and important ambassadors, bringing the conservation message to the places where they live, thanks to our environmental education program for all our staff.
So, not only we comply with the conservation of all living beings within our reserve, but we also help to raise the awareness for the protection all the living beings by our neighboring communities. Thus not only the preservation of white Ecuadorian capuchin monkey is guaranteed, but also many other threatened species found in our reserve.
Cornejo, F. & de la Torre, S. 2015. Cebus aequatorialis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T4081A81232052.
Jack, K.M. & Campos, F.A. 2012. Distribution, abundance, and spatial ecology of the critically endangered Ecuadorian capuchin (Cebus albifrons aequatorialis). Tropical Conservation Science Vol.5 (2):173-191.
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