Most of my posts have been about seeing the Andean bears that I work with in the Peruvian Andes. However, I do also spend whole lot of time with the Yellow-tailed woolly monkey (Lagothrix flaviacuda), which is one of the most endangered primate on the planet.
Around where I live there are Yellow-tailed woolly monkeys in two different places. One is “close” to the village, where I first have to start out with a climb about 750 meters in elevation before I start searching with my guide. The second place is in the reserve which is a six hour hike away. The forest there is a tough environment to walk in. It is muddy and I fall in average a few times per hour. The forest is also a so extremely dense and steep that it is impossible to penetrate unless we use a machete. For most part of the time, we only are capable of walking 0,5 kilometers an hour (around 0,3 miles per hour) there (about 10% of normal walking speed). But most of all, the forest in the reserve can be extremely steep, especially as I go to unexplored parts of the protected area often. There small mistakes can litterlay be fatal. Slipping can mean a fall of up to 20 meters, and climbing in rubber boots is not easy.. Often there are no rocks to hold on to, instead we use moss and rotten branches.
But the forest is on the other hand beautiful, with hummingbirds, toucans and other elusive birds. More than two hundred bird species have been recorded between (and in) Corosha and the reserve. However, most amazing is to spend time with the woolly monkeys. Although they are wild, it is also possible to get close encounters with them, especially at times when group leading male is upset. Then he often climbs down to only a few meters from the ground and shows that you are kinda pissing him off!
I hope to get to write more about my experiences with these awesome animals soon again! Now I will have to hurry to the forest!!