A Critically-Endangered Capuchin (Sapajus apella margaritae) Living in Mountain Forest Fragments on Isla de Margarita, Venezuela

Part of the Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects book series (DIPR)


There are currently only two islands in the Caribbean that harbour Neotropical primates, Isla de Margarita with an endemic capuchin Sapajus apella margaritae; and Trinidad with two endemic monkeys Cebus albifrons trinitatis and Alouatta seniculus insulanus and the recently introduced brown capuchin Sapajus apella. These Caribbean monkeys live in habitat islands surrounded by towns, agricultural areas and roads, and their main threats are habitat fragmentation and hunting. In this case study, conducted on a fragment scale on Isla de Margarita, we report on the Margarita capuchin distribution and encounter rates of monkey groups and signs, as well the location of introduced primates in the Margarita capuchin habitat. We conducted reconnaissance surveys and interviews with local people and hunters. Line-transect surveys by distance sampling were carried out in the forest fragments where capuchins were found. Margarita capuchins live in four forest fragments; two of them are protected areas. The abundance of introduced howler monkeys and wedge-capped capuchins in the mountains could not be quantified and it is assumed they are likely to be low, but generates concern about resource competition, disease transmission and hybridisation. Capuchins on Isla de Margarita seem to prefer the evergreen forest when this is available, but they also live in a forest fragment entirely covered by dry vegetation. Corridors have been proposed to increase the capacity of dispersal of primates among forest fragments as an important factor for their long-term survival on the island.


Forest Fragment Evergreen Forest Encounter Rate Howler Monkey Natural Monument 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are grateful to C.E. González for his support with GIS and for the Fig. 13.2 in this manuscript. C.A. Chapman for valuable comments on the manuscript. Wildlife Research Group (University of Cambridge) and Fundación Vuelta Larga provided institutional support. INPARQUES provided long-lasting support. We thank the park ranger for their assistance in the fieldwork in particular I. Valera, P. Marcano and M. Gil for their commitment and dedication. V. Zacarías for his great assistance in the fieldwork. Prof. J. Romero and families Perera-Morales and Ceballos-Mago gave logistic support. Financial support was provided by Primate Action Fund (CI), Captive Care Grant (IPS), Fondo IEA, Denver Zoological Foundation, Rufford Small Grant, IDEA WILD, Cambridge Overseas Trust, Avrith Grant, Cambridge Philosophical Society, and Murray Edwards College.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fundación Vuelta Larga, Margarita Capuchin ProjectMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Wildlife Research Group, Anatomy SchoolUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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