A scientific research on the sighting of Uakari monkeys and their monitoring carried out by tourists at Uakari Lodge has just been published in the International Journal of Primatology. The article, entitled “Community-Based Tourism and Primate Observation as a Conservation Strategy in the Amazon” is the result of work carried out over two years, in partnership with local guides and naturalists and visitors to the Mamirauá Reserve.
The monitoring of the uakari monkey was designed at the end of 2018 in order to understand what percentage of Uakari Lodge visitors were able to make the sighting of this species, and what were the factors influencing the sightings. With this, the team of local guides and naturalists began a study of how to improve the tours so that the chances (which are already high!) of sightings increased over time.
The most interesting thing about this research was its strategy: turning it into an ecotourism activity for its visitors!
The local guides, at each field trip with tourists, controlled in tables the number of people who participated in their group, which was the trail used, if there was a sighting of the animal and, if so, how many monkeys and what were they making. Tourists, in turn, also had their own table, which provided information about the sighting and the services contracted for the Uakari Lodge. Tourists were informed that they were participating in a monitoring program and that they were a key player in this scientific research, which further motivated the search for uacaris during ecotourism activities.
The volume of data collected over this time allowed the development of this scientific research with the involvement of local guides from Uakari Lodge and their tourists. Information was collected from 655 guests during this time, who participated in 334 field days distributed in 602 leisure activities on the trails and channels of the Mamirauá Reserve.
This is an efficient strategy for collecting scientific data, which was further analyzed by the Primate Research Group and the Community-Based Tourism Program of the Mamirauá Sustainable Development Institute - founder and co-manager of Uakari Lodge. As it is a species of restricted distribution to the Middle Solimões, the collection of data from the uacari becomes even more challenging because there are not many specific studies. The work was published by the naturalist guide from Uakari Lodge, biologist Cynthia Lebrão in partnership with primatologists Fernanda Paim and Felipe Enes, with important contributions from Pedro Nassar (Coordinator of the Community-Based Tourism Program), Lana Rosa (naturalist guide from Uakari Lodge at the time of data collection) and statistician Hani Bizri.
73.4% of guests at Uakari Lodge managed to see the uakari monkey at least 01 time. In 55% of the sightings, the uacari monkeys were on the move, taking “trips”. In 35% they were feeding and only in 9% of these sightings the animals were resting.
Another important fact is that sightings happened more frequently and in larger groups of animals together during the flood season and on board wooden canoes, a classic leisure activity at Uakari Lodge. This is explained by the fact that during the rainy season the amount of fruit is more abundant, and so the uacaris do not need to travel long distances to feed. Canoe trips are also usually quieter, without causing the perception of the tourist's presence in most field situations.
It is important to emphasize that Uakari Lodge does not interfere in the behavior of any animal species in the Mamirauá Reserve for observation purposes - which is why the inn's experience wins national and international awards that recognize its efforts to transform tourism into an activity for the conservation of local biodiversity . The monitoring of fauna at Uakari Lodge and its relationship with tourist activity has already been the subject of other studies carried out by the Mamirauá Institute, which show that leisure activities here do not impact the behavior of primates.
If you want to know the full results of this survey, click here!
Images: Cynthia Lebrão