The interactions between mothers and their offspring are vital for successful child-rearing. Due to the energy-intensive nature of reproducing and child-rearing, a mother Alouatta palliata, or mantled howler monkey, will protect the health and safety of her offspring. However, within three years, the offspring must obtain the skills to survive independently. Female A. palliata experiences a gestational period of approximately 180 days. Every two years, females give birth to one child. An infant A. palliata will nurse for the first 18 months of its life. I hypothesize that mothers will maintain closer proximity to infants than to juveniles. My research will be conducted in May 2022 at the La Selva Research Station in Costa Rica's north-eastern rainforests. The primary and secondary forests there create an ideal habitat for A. palliata. The adult A. palliata are primates weighing 4 to 5 kg and covered in black fur. Infants will be covered in gold or silver fur until their fur darkens when they reach sexual maturity at three years old. Data will be collected using instantaneous focal sampling in 10-second intervals that will alternate between mothers and offspring. I will distinguish between infant A. palliata, as those clinging to their mothers, and juveniles as those who nurse but transport themselves predominantly independently. A. palliata mothers will be distinguished by the act of nursing their offspring. I will study the methods applied by the mother, A. palliata, in the rearing of her offspring. I will record their proximity to one another and to others, distinguishing between physical contact, within 1 meter, 3 meters, or a distance greater than 3 meters. I will record their behaviors such as feeding, resting, traveling, and grooming. This data will be compared to data collected on other Alouatta species.
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