On our second full day on BCI, we entered the world of primate social interactions; a world too familiar to Dr. Meg Crofoot. Beyond the undeniable call of the howling monkeys, I possessed limited understanding of the island’s simian population. Dr. Crofoot explained the intricate relationship of the island’s flora population with its howler and capuchin monkeys as well as the technology that is necessary to track these creatures in this dense environment.
As we traveled down the top of the island, Dr Crofoot turned to us asked bluntly “how bad do we want to see the capuchins“. Despite her ambiguous question, we followed her as she leads off the main path, deeper into this valley of the island. I was somewhat anxious, abandoning the path while making my way to an uneven, potentially dangerous terrain. Walking through plants with impressive defensive tactic; stepping on dangerous animals camouflaged by forest vegetation constantly ruminated in my mind as we wondered.But the opportunity to see these fiery little monkeys persuaded me to continue.
The aha moment of us finding the little simians came when Dr. Crofoot directed us to be silent and look into the the trees. We saw the Capuchins; more importantly we saw the micro-war that they were engaged. Dr. Crofoot explained that one group of the Capuchins were being attacked by another, with the former being forced to leave the immediate area. As this party vacated on the high branches, the winners were not at peace, screaming at each other or another party of Capuchins.
The details of this sky battle are somewhat limited by the limits of the human eyes (and my binoculars). Nonetheless, I can say I was there when war was raged in the skies.