Rope bridges provide safe connectivity for the southern brown howler monkey (Alouatta guariba clamitans Cabrera, 1940) in an urban Atlantic Forest remnant

In: Folia Primatologica
Cauê Monticelli Centro de Conservação de Fauna Silvestre do Estado de São Paulo, Fundação Parque Zoológico de São Paulo, Araçoiaba da Serra, São Paulo, 18190-000, Brazil

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Priscila Comassetto Maciel Meio Ambiente, Enel Distribuição São Paulo, São Paulo, (São Paulo), Brazil

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Francini de Oliveira Garcia Programa de Pós-Graduação em Conservação da Fauna, Universidade Federal de São Carlos, Brazil

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A southern brown howler monkey (Alouatta guariba clamitans) population occurs in a remnant of Atlantic Forest located inside an urban area of the municipality of São Paulo, Brazil. This population has been heavily anthropogenically impacted by collisions with vehicles, electrocutions on power lines, and falls onto roads. With the aim of reducing these impacts on howler monkeys, we installed four rope bridges in the forest canopy in Fontes do Ipiranga State Park (PEFI). We used mortality data collected within the PEFI to identify areas with high incident rates to place the bridges. The bridges were monitored continuously (24 hours per day) with camera traps for the 12 months following bridge installation (with one exception). The goal of this study was to evaluate the functionality of the bridges in road impact mitigation for the howler monkeys in the PEFI and for other arboreal species. We recorded use of three of the four rope bridges by five of the six arboreal mammal species known to occur in the PEFI with the following frequency: southern brown howler monkey – 60.5% of events, 70.8 events/month; orange-spined hairy dwarf porcupine – Coendou spinosus, 26.1% of events, 31 events/month; black-eared opossum – Didelphis aurita, 7.2% of events, 7.3 events/month, bare-tailed woolly opossum – Caluromys philander, 3.4% of events, 4.3 events/month and marmoset – Callithrix sp., 2.7% of events, 3.38 events/month. The time to first use of the bridges by howler monkeys in the two bridges for which there were data was 2 and 77 days, while other species took longer to habituate (113–344 days). Adult howler monkeys used all parts of the bridges to cross while younger howlers and the smaller species used mostly the longitudinal side lines. Given our findings of rope bridge use by five species in the PEFI, we recommend the installation of rope bridges of this design in other areas with similar species composition.

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