Saturday, June 11, 2011

TitiTales: GE: living amongst people

GE lives in the Northern portion of Yvaga Guazu, amid the fruit trees, above the school children and, often, beyond the fences. Elena, Vicente, Pedro and Denito can be quite the entertaining four-some to watch and the territory in which they maintain can provide their observers with some unique dynamics. Although GE has a large territory within the park they often spent hours feeding or resting in trees beyond the eastern, northwestern and southwestern fence boundaries and vocalizations were not always a daily behavior. Hanging out beyond the fences resulted in quite a bit of out-of-view time, or missed fecal samples for me, but they seemed to have patterns in which you could predict where you might encounter them.  One very prevalent dynamic for any observer watching GE is the interaction with staff and the groups of school children while observing or looking for GE. This dynamic is great for interacting with Bolivians, practicing Spanish and sharing titi facts; however it is not so great for data collection. Often groups of school kids walked noisily past or roaring chainsaws muffled vocalizations. An observer of GE must be patient and willing to chat with school groups and park staff.  Although GE has a lot of exposure to human disturbances, their behaviors in response to human presence were not always of a fearful nature. Often GE would continue feeding, rest vigilantly or slowly move away, while other times the group would quite obviously change behaviors (e.g. terminate vocalization, flee) in response to the peopl

Pedro has become quite big, and still remains very gray leading me to wonder if he is not actually “Pedra”. Denito is also growing quickly and when GE and G1 have a vocalization bout, he is not afraid to help out by displaying pilo erection and back arching, very humorous to watch! Typically, however, Pedro and Denito play while Elena and Vicente take care of all vocalizing matters.
On one particularly windy day, before I had located the group, I heard a solo call coming from the far northwest edge of their territory.  Something did not sound quite right, the voice was scratchy and the notes were inconsistent- could this be a “strange monkey”? When I located the solo caller, I found little Denito sitting in the mid story calling in search of the group. Apparently, in the high winds, he had become separated from the group and was actively trying to relocate the family. Denito would call for a few minutes and then move quickly through the high canopy, stop, call again and repeat. After around 20 minutes Vicente approached while calling (Elena and Pedro soon to follow) and the group was reunited.  There were several days with high winds and strong gusts and it was not uncommon to watch as Denito lost contact with the group as he lingered at the feeding trees, but quickly re-established proximity. GE is an adorable family group, and after months of daily follows, one becomes quite invested in the group they are assigned. I look forward to hearing how the group dynamics of GE change through the seasons!

Vicente and Denito sitting tail-twined.
Vicente keeping a close eye me.

Perdo, always a bit curious.