Effective Solutions for Howler Conservation
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All species of howlers are at risk due to habitat destruction. I review the three most serious threats to howler survival—agricultural disturbance, logging disturbance, and hunting—both in a general context and in species accounts. Withal, the adaptability of howlers has allowed them to be a widespread genus throughout Central and South America. Alouatta is especially adaptable due to its generalized folivorous diet. I discuss how this adaptability relates to survival in situations of habitat destruction. In addition, I examine howler preference for riverine habitats and their ability to capitalize on secondary forests and secondary growth. I take a practical approach, suggesting some solutions for species survival, which include habitat management and reintroductions. Successful conservation models highlighted are the Community Baboon Sanctuary in Belize, in which villagers manage their lands for the benefit of the black howler and for their own economic benefit from ecotourism, and a village-sustainable logging system in Quintana Roo, Mexico, which has reduced levels of deforestation while benefiting both villagers and howlers, as well as other wildlife. A successful translocation of black howlers in Belize in order to reestablish a viable population is also described. The paper concludes with further suggestions to encourage howler conservation.
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