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Male and female Beni titi monkeys (Callicebus modestus).
This species has been documented to be endangered.
(Photo by Mileniusz Spanowicz—WCS




UPDATE    2011

Director's Report

Primate Conservation Inc.’s mission is to provide support for projects that study and protect the least-known and most endangered primates in their natural habitats. In this year’s update we are proud to present two reports from the field. The first report is about two of the least-known endangered primates that live in the lowlands of Bolivia. The second report is from the second most populous country in the world, India. The culture of India has great respect for its primates, but they still face habitat loss, forest degradation, and hunting.

This has been a difficult year for environmental causes. We see many habitat countries (Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Yemen, Japan) that are in deep political turmoil or recovering from natural disasters that threaten primates, including humans. In the USA, we see a polarized government, where multinational corporations set the agenda. We realize that the United States will probably not take any leading role in addressing global climate change or energy issues that threaten the environmental health of our entire planet. The sad fact is that America will put off doing what is needed to prevent the worst effects of climate change and to help our future economy move beyond carbon-emitting fossil fuels, because that will cost money and raising taxes is unpopular. There seems to be no discussion of what it will cost when the sea level rises and our major cities are flooded during storms or high tides.

So we must do what we as individuals can do. We must protect what we can, where we can, in hopes that humans will become more thoughtful stewards of the planet. In this hope PCI continues to fund the next generation of primatologists and conservationists to do what is needed to protect endangered primates in their natural habitat. With your donations to PCI, more funds can be directed to these motivated conservationists and their worthy projects.


Lesley Lopez and Ariel Reinaga at a Bolivian school teaching
a class about environmental conservation. (Photo by WCS)

News from the Field

Mapping habitat loss and availability for Callicebus modestus and Callicebus olallae in the Department of Beni, Bolivia
Lesley Lopez and Ariel Reinaga

Between 2004 and 2010, with funding from PCI and the Wildlife Conservation Society, we documented the distribution of the two titi monkeys (Callicebus) in the central and western parts of the Beni Department in Bolivia. We have established the extremely restricted distribution range and boundaries of these two endemic titis. Olalla Brothers’ titi (Callicebus olallae) has the most restricted distribution and is limited to the southwestern part of Beni Department, with a range of only 5,000 hectares. The Beni titi monkey (C. modestus) has a slightly larger distribution, occupying an area of 45,000 hectares.

Several research projects have been conducted to learn about diet, demography, and population abundance of both species. We determined that C. olallae forms groups of on average two individuals, and we estimate that the maximum population is only 1,927 individuals. For C. modestus each group is formed of an average of 2.64 individuals, with a maximum population of 20,072 individuals. Diet and behavior studies are currently being analyzed and written up for publication in 2012. 

With the information gathered, we had enough evidence to determine the IUCN threat category of “Endangered” for both species. We have contributed information on biodiversity to local authorities to help establish a Municipal Reserve in the Santa Rosa del Yacuma Municipality. This represents an important conservation initiative to protect both titi monkeys, since it encompasses the majority of their distribution.

The challenges we face now are (1) to provide help with developing a management plan for the reserve and determining the extent of the main threats facing the monkeys, (2) to learn how the species are responding to increasing threats in the region and to establish environmental monitoring programs, and (3) to develop locally appropriate outreach and environmental education activities. Current support from PCI is allowing us to assess the historical and current deforestation and to begin to plan appropriate conservation actions, including coordination with the Bolivian road authorities, which are planning a new road in the middle of the ranges of the titis.

Eastern hoolock gibbon female (Hoolock leuconedys)

Hoolock gibbon survey in Assam, India
Rekha Chetry, PhD, and Dilip Chetry, PhD

Although there are two species of gibbon in India, the western Hoolock (Hoolock hoolock) was thought to be the only gibbon in Assam, one of the few places where it still has a viable population. We surveyed six forest reserves in Sadiya, a part of Tinsukia district on the extreme east boundary of Assam.

We for the first time documented that the eastern hoolock gibbon (Hoolock leuconedys) is present not the western hoolock with a total of 33 individuals in 10 groups recorded from direct sighting. We estimate the occurrence of another 16 groups from calls counted. The average group size was 3 with individuals ranging from 1 to 5. Sadly our survey found no gibbons present in 3 of the 6 forest reserves. 

The reserves, unlike a sanctuary or national park, do not enjoy strong legal protection and face numerous threats, including hunting, illegal logging, commercial harvesting of bamboo, cane, ferns, Alpinia species, and cattle grazing. In fact almost half of the forest reserve land is under encroachment with 6070 hectares out of 12,512. This is due to lack of awareness and protection. The forest department has a staff of only 8 people to combat illegal activities and there are no staff quarters or offices in any of the reserves. 

We initiated the first education and awareness program and our new findings got wide media coverage. We plan to recommend that the 3 reserve forests become wildlife sanctuaries with the eastern hoolock gibbon as a flagship species for conservation.

Rehka (wearing a cap) and Dilip Chetry with their survey team

How to Support PCI

PCI is an all-volunteer, tax-deductible private operating 501(c)(3) foundation. Since our first grant in 1993, we have supported with full, partial, or renewal funding 443 projects in 28 countries with primate habitats.

This summer we will announce the opening of alltheworldsprimates.org website, with comprehensive information about all the living primate species and subspecies and more than 3,000 photos, plus interactive maps, video, and audio. We hope that subscriptions will be another source of funding for PCI grants.

If you would like to contribute cash, stock, or real estate to PCI or would like more information on a specific project, please contact me at the address below. To keep our overhead to a minimum, so that as much of the money raised is used to support field conservation projects; we send only one newsletter per year. This is our annual appeal for your donations. Please do not forget about this, as you will not receive other mail from us, nor will we share your name with others. We appreciate your support and hope you will give generously to support a primate project.


Noel Rowe     Director


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Primate Conservation, Inc
1411 Shannock Rd
Charlestown, Rhode Island 02813-3726

Telephone:(401) 364 7140
FAX: (401) 364 6785

Email PCI: nrowe@primate.org