Softly, softly, catch the monkey..

Seeing mammals in the rainforest is tricky. The easiest are probably monkeys, because many species travel in groups, and you can hear them coming.  But mostly you get just a glimpse as they move swiftly through the treetops, or leap acrobatically overhead to cross a trail or a stream. Magical, but not a long look. Here are the best photos I managed in Ecuador.

(A confession: from time to time Marcelo, our guide at Napo Wildlife Lodge, grabbed my camera and disappeared. Somehow, he always found a tiny gap in the foliage and managed to get the monkey shot I would never have got. I can’t always tell you which Napo monkey shots he took, and which were mine, but he really liked my camera!)

These are Black-mantled tamarins, at Wild Sumaco:

Black-mantled tamarin

And their Golden Mantled relative, near Napo Wildlife Lodge:

Golden-mantled tamarin
Golden-mantled tamarin

The most common monkeys around Napo (in the Amazon basin) were the Red Howler Monkeys. At dawn, the males set up the most evocative chorus drifting through the forest as the sun rises. The young one in this photo is nicely showing off his prehensile tail, something found only in New World monkeys. (Taken from a rocking boat, by me!).

Red howler monkeys

Also common were the squirrel monkeys (who don’t have prehensile tails)

Squirrel monkey

Finally, we saw one group of Woolly Monkeys. They need primary forest, and our lodge was in an area protected by the local Kichwa people from all hunting, development, and oil extraction, so we were lucky enough to see them. It is not clear that he was so happy to see us…

Woolly monkey

 

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