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Monkeys, Monkeys, and More Monkeys

By | February 25, 2015

Jack London’s “The Call of the Wild” about a sled dog in Alaska focuses on the adventures of Buck and his experience’s to emerge as a leader in the wild.  However for me the true “Call of the Wild” is the amazing vocalizations of the Howler Monkey.  There is nothing like hearing  Howler Monkeys calling through the forest. They are the loudest monkeys and the probably the loudest land animal.

Howler Monkey – Photo by Bob Szaro

We were treated throughout our trip in Costa Rica with sights of many monkey troops.  From those we saw in the Arenal Region, to those in the environs near the Tempisque River, and even surrounding our hotel along the Playa Panama. 

Howler Monkey – Photo by Bob Szaro

We were serenaded by their calls in the early morning and later in the evening.  During the day they were swinging in the trees while we had our breakfast.

Howler Monkey – Photo by Bob Szaro

They were always in groups of 8 to 12 and stayed close together.  Females oftentimes had their babies clinging to their backs.  They tended to be very playful and relaxed in the trees in what looked like awkward positions to me.

Howler Monkey – Photo by Herman Medford

But Howler Monkeys were not the only monkeys we were fortunate to see. On our boat tour along the Tempisque River we came across two troops of the White-faced Capuchin Monkey. They were in the trees but frequently came down to the river’s edge for a drink.  

White-faced Capuchin Monkey – Photo by Bob Szaro

Costa Rica's Natural Treasures

Bob Szaro

Bob Szaro grew up fascinated by nature and started bird-watching while in grade school. His love of birds has led to travels and research around the world including many trips to Central and South America. His passion for different cultures, natural history and photography has led to his exploring the variety of landscapes found in Costa Rica starting in 1982 from the cloud forests of Monteverde to the dry forests of Guanacaste. Bob retired in 2008 as Chief Scientist for Biology for the US Geological Survey in Reston, Virginia. Bob received a Dual Bachelors Degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology from Texas A&M University (1970), a Masters Degree in Zoology from the University of Florida (1972), and a Doctoral Degree in Ecology from Northern Arizona University (1976). He also completed the Senior Executive Fellows program at Harvard University (1993). Bob currently serves as a consultant to the Smithsonian Institution on biodiversity, climate change, and tiger conservation.

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