Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Fall 2013

Document Type





The black-crowned Central American squirrel monkey (Saimiri oerstedii oerstedii) has never been abundant, having been geographically restricted by its preferred habitat of low altitude secondary forest in Costa Rica and Panama. But heavy deforestation in the 20th century had a devastating effect on the population: the most recent survey, completed in 1996, estimated that fewer than 6000 individuals remained in the wild. Deforestation and subsequent habitat fragmentation remain the major threats to this squirrel monkey, while insecticide use in agribusiness and poorly insulated electrical wires also pose serious risks. Costa Rica, with its international reputation as a leader in conservation actions, is in a position to reverse S. o. oerstedii's downward population trend. Conservationists and policy makers are limited by the absence of current population data, making a new survey a top priority. Further efforts must focus on habitat preservation and egeneration if this charismatic species is to survive in the long term.