Monday, April 23, 2007

Four monkey species decreasing in Costa Rica

Costa Rican biologist Idalia Valierio, left, and biologist Ronald Sanchez, right, take measurements and stool and blood samples of captured Congo monkeys at the Nogal Reserve near Sarapiqui, Costa Rica, Saturday, April 14, 2007. Scientists from two Costa Rican universities are studying effects of climate change such as cataracts caused by damage to the ozone layer, loss of pigmentation due to pesticides and other diseases in a primates' genetics and general health study. (AP Photo/Kent Gilbert)San Jose, Costa Rica (La Nacion) - Four monkey species drastically decreased during the last five years in Costa Rica due to deforestation, agrochemical use, global warming and their capture to use them as pets, denounced Costa Rican biologists Monday.

Spider Monkeys for example decreased from 25,000 to 7,000 since 2000 and Congo Monkeys decreased in almost 50 percent, from 70,000 to 36,800, according to biologists from the University of Costa Rica (UCR) and National University (UNA).

Ronald Sanchez, UCR specialist, admitted that there is no precise information on the decrease of Titi and White-face monkeys, but he coincided with other experts on the great difficulties they confront due to primary forests reduction.

Costa Rican scientists discovered in these years several health problems that affect monkeys like: eye cataracts, loss of melanin (responsible for the skin color) and diseases like malaria and tropical encephalitis, this last one causing the death of dozens of monkeys at the Corcovado National Park in 2003.

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