IbN # 7 - Liselot Lange
"We need them (the spider monkeys) for seed dispersal to keep our forests healthy".
My guest this week is Liselot Lange, a Dutch primatologist who has specialised in the research of spider monkeys of the specie Ateles Chamek.
I recorded this interview with Liselot at her current home, a research campsite deep inside the Madre de Dios region of Peru. I had the pleasure of following her work and research closely for 4 weeks in the most beautiful rainforest setting along the Las Piedras river. Here, Liselot has been studying a group of spider monkeys for the past year. The pack consists of 9 individuals grouped together as a family, both male, female and an infant, all of which Liselot recognises due to their individual facial features and marks.
Spider monkeys are the common name for a large group of species living in the Central and South American rainforest. They are large (half the height of a man), have lengthy arms and legs as well as a long tail which they use as their fifth limb when swinging through the canopy. The presence of spider monkeys in the vast forests is incredibly important due to their ability to spread seeds through their diet which keeps the forest thriving and renewing.
The Peruvian Spider Monkey or the Black-Faced Spider Monkey of which Liselot is researching, is listed as endangered on the IUCN red list of threatened species. This is based on the estimation that the specie has declined with at least 50% over the last 3 generations! The main reasons for species loss of the spider monkey comes down to hunting and habitat loss when the forest is cut away for agriculture and logging.
To gain a thorough knowledge of this specie through research is an important link when working with conservation. It is with this in mind that Liselot travels the forest floor every day for hours in the moist heat and dense undergrowth of the rainforest, recording ecological and areal data of her 9 individuals.
Living in the rainforest on a daily basis also means that you are bound to encounter a lot of animals; mammals, insects, birds, reptiles. Liselot is showcasing her impressive photographies, some of which are dedicated to her work with the spider monkeys, many others dedicated to show off the enormous and invaluable diversity a rainforest provides. I would highly recommend checking them out!
I hope you will enjoy the interview with this incredible woman who have left the modern comfort befind to live and breath the air of the rainforest, dedicated to follow her passion for primatology and conservation.
If you are more interest in the status of the Ateles Chamek spider monkeys, then you can check out the information on the IUCN red list.
Are you more curious about the work of Liselot Lange then get in touch with her here.
You can also go volunteering or carry out your own research project at the camp where Liselot is stationed which is also where this episode took place. All you need to do is make contact with the organisation ARCAmazon who is in charge of the camp. You can find all their information here.
Liselot Lange in her rainforest survey gear.
A spider monkey encountered on a survey walk.
For Liselot Lange, the Amazon rainforest in Peru is both her home and where she carries out her passion for spider monkey research. Listen as she explains why it is crucial for the well-being of the forest to conserve this amazing specie and what threats are currently making this a challenging job.
E P I S O D E 7