Project Title: Characteristics of Geoffroy's Tamarin (Saguinus geoffroyi) Population, Demographics, and Territory Sizes in Urban Park Habitat (Parque Natural Metropolitano, Panama City, Panama)
Student: Caitlin McNaughton ’16
Mentor: Dr. John Krygier
Metropolitan parks are an important refuge for wildlife in developed areas. In the tropics, land conversion threatens rainforest habitat that holds some of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world. This study aims to investigate the characteristics of Geoffroy’s tamarin (Saguinus geoffroyi) population, demographics, and territory size in a highly urbanized forest habitat (Parque Natural Metropolitano (PNM), Panama City, Republic of Panamá). Studies of animal response to modified habitats are important as development continues worldwide. S. geoffroyi is an ideal species to study for this purpose due to the species’ tolerance to habitat disturbance. This particular park is of interest because it is part of a biological corridor that spans more than 26,000 hectares. Over the course of 12 days, the park was surveyed from its trails and auditory luring was used twice. Graphics were created of the 16 detection events and data concerning group sizes, demographics, location, and direction of movement were used to establish groups sighted. This study found a preference for the area of the park including trails Cieneguita and Mono Tití. Observations and personal communications from Park guards indicate that this is likely due to distribution of fruiting trees in that area at this time. Additionally, observations of S. geoffroyi responses to auditory luring in this study indicate the potential for this method to be used to determine sex of individuals. Restrictions of transect surveying to established trails made it impossible to determine territory sizes or group sizes and demographics with certainty in this study. Additional studies of the Park’s connectivity, territory sizes, food sources, and population are suggested to better understand the impacts of forest habitat in an urban area on Geoffroy’s tamarins.