Studying Howler Monkeys in Brazil
The following series of images and movies (see below for links) document a trip I made in 2007 to Santa Catarina in southern Brazil to collect blood from Brown Howler Monkeys. This work was done in conjunction with Dr. Zelinda Hirano Braga and the veterinarian, Dr. Julio César de Souza Junior who both work with the Brown Howler Monkey Project (Projeto Bugio). As can be seen in the movies below, we anaesthetized the monkeys for a short period of time and then we extracted small samples of blood so as to extract DNA and to test for parasites. While the monkeys were under anaesthesia a small microchip for identification was inserted subcutaneously. We used the utmost care not to hurt the monkeys in the process of anaesthetising them. In fact, while monkeys are "down" they are treated for ailments (e.g. as seen in one of the photos below, one monkey was treated for a broken leg).
All the monkeys were in captivitiy at the Brown Howler Monkey Project (Projeto Bugio). This project rescues these monkeys in the city of Blumenau, Santa Catarina and its surrounding areas. Monkeys are rescued from people's homes where they are sometimes kept as pets. Sometimes monkeys are hit by cars, or otherwise injured perhaps by domestic pets (dogs), or sometimes they fall from trees. In any case, the Brown Howler Project rescues the monkeys and tries to rehabilitate them with the idea of returning them to protected forests in the area around Blumenau. One of the major problems is that much of the habitat of the monkeys (Atlantic Coastal Forest) has been destroyed, intersected, and reduced to patches within urban and suburban regions where people live. Hence, the monkeys come into contact or "conflict" with people.
My research interests are to analyze the variation found in the genes of different Brown Howler individuals to reconstruct their evolutionary relationships within the Atlantic Coastal Forest. Publications resulting from this research can be downloaded from my "Publication" link on the main page.