, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 125-141,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 31 Jan 2009

Field Anesthesia and Health Assessment of Free-ranging Cebus capucinus in Panama


Health and disease are critical factors for understanding primate evolution and for developing effective conservation and management strategies. However, comprehensive health assessments of wild primate populations are rare, in part because of the difficulty and risk of chemically immobilizing subjects to obtain the necessary biological samples. We report here the results of a health assessment, as well as the methods and drug dosages used to capture white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus) on Barro Colorado Island, Panama. We captured and measured 24 capuchins as part of an ongoing radiotelemetry study, and collected biological samples from 9 of them for a comprehensive health survey. Telazol® was very effective for immobilizing and capturing capuchins, although the doses we used were higher than those recommended for captive capuchins. High Telazol doses immobilized individuals quickly, ensuring that we were able to find and recover the sedated monkeys. The capuchins were generally in good condition, and had few ecto-, hemo-, or intestinal parasites. However, all but 1 of the adults had substantial dental abnormalities. In addition, 1 juvenile had indeterminate genitalia that we believe to be the result of hypospadias. Seven of the capuchins tested positive for exposure to Herpesvirus tamarinus and all individuals tested positive for exposure to Cebus cytomegalovirus. Hematology, serum chemistry, and plasma mineral levels from the wild individuals were, for the most part, comparable to those recorded for captive Cebus capucinus, and contribute to establishing baseline health values for the species.