A survey of the distribution and density of the primates of Guyana
- Cite this article as:
- Sussman, R.W. & Phillips-Conroy, J.E. Int J Primatol (1995) 16: 761. doi:10.1007/BF02735719
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In January through February 1994, we conducted the first broad-scale survey of Guyanese primates since 1975. Our goals were (1) to follow up questions raised in the earlier survey, (2) to compare population densities, and (3) to locate potential sites for future long-term research. We used distributional survey methods along trails and rivers and interviewed local inhabitants in each region. We surveyed five general areas, two of which had been studied in 1975. The distribution reported in 1975 for five monkey species—Alouatta seniculus, Cebus olivaceus, Pithecia pithecia, Chiropotes satanas,and Saimiri sciureus—was confirmed. However, questions were raised concerning the western extent of the range of three species: Ateles paniscus, Cebus apella,and Saguinus midas.In comparing densities between 1994 and 1975, we found a significant drop in group densities over the past 20 years and a shift in relative proportions of individual primate species over time. For example, although the total number of kilometers surveyed was identical, group densities were three times higher in 1975 than in 1994. Further, group densities of Ateles, Alouatta,and Pitheciawere much lower, while those of Saguinuswere similar in both years. These findings strongly suggest that habitat destruction and continued hunting pressure are affecting the primate populations.