Research Update #1: Learning to love Leoncitos

Locally known as ‘Leoncitos‘, pygmy marmosets are completely adorable.  Fact.

DSC_0258

They are also the whole reason I’m visiting Peru, spending the next few months at Tahuayo lodge, deep in the Amazon jungle.   This project has been six months in the planning, but finally, I’m collecting real data.  Even if I do spend more time watching trees and waiting for them to turn up than actually recording anything.

Week 1 stats
Hours spent watching empty trees: 12
5 minute trials completed: 11
Tourist boats stumbling upon trials: 2
Predators crashing the party: 2
Lost paddles: 1
Storms evaded: 3
Insect bites: uncountable

DSC_0257

Lazing in the sun living up to his namesake: leoncitos, little lions

Despite the intrinsic nature of the jungle (spikey and bitey) and monkey-related frustrations I cannot help but fall in love with this species.  The longer I observe them the more aspects of their lives I glimpse: sitting patiently, eyes stalking a butterfly like a cat ready to pounce; snoozing and sunbathing on vines; playing with one another and tumbling along branches. Yes, most of the time they do just nibble at trees, feeding on the sap from within but occasionally, it gets a little more interesting.

Pygmy marmoset 2 (2)

Adult marmoset emitting a trill call.  They dig the holes in the tree using specially adapted teeth before drinking the sap from within.

I could watch them forever.  Fortunately.  Eight weeks to go.

Advertisements