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January 22 2013

Monkeys Stressed from Longer Foraging Times


Endangered Mexican howler monkeys are consuming more leaves and less fruit as a result of habitat disturbance by humans, which is forcing them to invest much more time foraging for sustenance and leading to increased 'stress' levels, as detected through hormone analysis.

The research, published January 22 in the International Journal of Primatology, took place in the tropical rainforests of the Mexican state of Veracruz, which are being deforested and fragmented by human activity -- primarily the clearing of forest for cattle raising. It shows that increases in howler monkey 'travel time' -- the amount of time needed to find requisite nourishment -- are leading to increases in levels of stress hormones called glucocorticoids.

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