Mischievous Squirrel Monkeys
While based in Costa Rica as a researcher on a scarlet macaw reintroduction programme in 2015, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by a very healthy population of squirrel monkeys. Although their total population is vulnerable, in the Pavonnes region they are healthy with numerous, large groups patrolling in search of food and ultimately causing mischief!
Squirrel monkeys are intelligent, but most of all they are cheeky, particularly when in groups. Like a gang of kids encouraging each other, they undertake food scavenges, few animals would undertake. Our open kitchen would regularly show signs of a foraging party and often we would catch them in the act, heading down from the rainforest in the midday sun to hopefully find some fruit on the trees around us.
We were often given bunches of bananas by our neighbours, these would generally be green and we would store them in the kitchen to turn ripe. The smell of the bananas would regularly bring the monkeys down to investigate. Bold males would approach but ultimately watch from what they deemed a safe distance until we turned around for a moment, then they would dive in and steal one!