Human disturbance, natural predation and hunting: effects on priamtes in Southern Mexico
Start date: 21 August 2016
Various studies have established that loss of forest cover is the main driver for loss of biodiversity. However, few studies have focused on examining the effects of hunting, predation and wildfires on wildlife, and particularly, on Mexican primates. The main aim of this study was to establish a) whether hunting, wildfires and natural predation were occurring within Uxpanapa Valley, Veracruz, Mexico, and b) the effects these variables were having on the distribution and number of groups of howler and spider monkeys. We examined 54 different field sites, and obtained primate and predator data through direct observation and scat collection, we interviewed 340 villagers from the different field locations to obtain data on hunting and used NASA information for wildfire data. We detected 86 spider monkey sub-groups, 69 howler monkey groups and collected 57 predator scat samples. We show that hunting and wildfires are ongoing in the area, but do not have a significant effect on the primates. A significant negative relationship was found only between predation and number of spider monkey groups, indicating that predators and spider monkeys have similar habitat requirements. Hunting and wildfires seem to be more controlled in the area, due to changes in Mexican laws, but we suggest it's crucial to continue monitoring these variables in order to fully comprehend the effects these variables have on primates.