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Keywords:

  • Pithecia pithecia;
  • saki monkeys;
  • space use;
  • French Guiana;
  • translocation;
  • density

Abstract

White-faced sakis (Pithecia pithecia) are among the least studied neotropical primates. The combination of shy and quiet behavior, their ability to move silently, and the extreme difficulty of capturing them may explain why very few field studies have been undertaken in undisturbed habitats. During the course of a wildlife rescue in French Guiana, six individuals were captured and translocated to a safe area of primary rainforest. In this area, based on the observation of 35 groups, the average group size was 2.3 animals (SD = 1.2) and a density of 0.28 group/km2 (0.64 individuals/km2) was estimated from transect censuses. Our study focused successively on three radio-collared animals (two males and one female) over a 287-day period, starting from release to the loss of the animal. From the study start, the triangulation method was used prior to habitutation to human presence, followed thereafter by 1,327 hr of visual monitoring. The translocated animals settled down, and two of them had a stable and compact home range. Two of them merged in association with members of the resident population. A resident group had a much larger home range than previously reported: 148 and 287 ha, using grid cells and 100% minimum convex polygon techniques, respectively. A group composed of two translocated individuals (one male and one female) had a home range of 68 and 135 ha using the same techniques. Additionally, two solitary animals used 152 and 162 1-ha quadrats. We observed animals (translocated and residents) moving quickly in one direction up to 11.5 km. The mean daily path length of resident animals was 1,880 m. Sakis used the lower strata of the forest more when in group, and the intermediate strata more when solitary. Allogrooming is fairly common in social groups. On average, the activity period ranged from 7:17 to 15:59 hr. Am. J. Primatol. 55:203–221, 2001. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.