Survey of the black howler monkey, <i>Alouatta pigra</i> , population at the Mayan site of Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico
A survey of the population of the black howler monkey ( Alouatta pigra ) present at the Mayan site of Palenque was conducted during 2000. A total of 911 man/hours, spread over 112 days were spent surveying the 600 ha area of pristine forest at the site for howler troops. We detected the presence of 136 individuals of which 131 were members of 20 troops, the rest were 3 solitary adult males and 2 adult males travelling as a pair. Ecological density was estimated at 23 individuals/km 2 . Mean troop size was 7.0 individuals and it ranged from 2–12 individuals; 60% of the troops were multimale. All sighting of howler monkeys were in evergreen rain forest and 75% were in trees ≥20 m in height. The reported densities and mean troop size are higher than those reported for the species in Guatemala and in central Quintana Roo, Mexico. The vegetation of the forest contains tree species reported to be used by species of Alouatta in the Moraceae, Sapotaceae, Leguminosae, and Lauraceae plant families. Protection of a large perimeter area (ca 1700 ha) around the archeological site by the Mexican government ensures the conservation of the forest and of the black howler monkey population present at the site.