Mammals of REGUA
Of the 264 mammal species found in the Atlantic Forest region, only 73 species have been recorded at REGUA so far. However, with hunting still commonplace throughout the Atlantic Forest, sightings of the majority of mammals, even at REGUA where hunting has been almost eliminated for over a decade, are infrequent.
Most regularly seen are the Capybara Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris, Common Marmoset Callithrix jacchus, Brown-throated Sloth Bradypus variegatus, Southeastern Common Opossum Didelphis aurita and Orange-spined Hairy Dwarf Porcupine Sphiggurus villosus.
Lowland Paca Cuniculus paca have become regular visitors to the lodge garden to feed on fruit put out for birds, along with the occasional Crab-eating Fox Cerdocyon thous, but both usually visit in the dead of night. Neotropical Otter Lontra longicaudis visit the wetland on occasion and are also present along the River Guapiaçu, but are rarely seen.
The rarest mammal present at REGUA is the Southern Muriqui, or Southern Woolly Spider Monkey Brachyteles arachnoides. Split in the late 1980s as a separate species from the Northern Muriqui B. hypoxanthus, the Southern Muriqui is the largest New World primate and also one of the rarest, with just under 1,000 individuals estimated to be remaining, and classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. They are very rarely encountered at REGUA, with sightings ranging from single animals and groups of up to 15 individuals, most often from the Elfin Forest Trail. Larger groups have comprised males, females and young, showing that REGUA has a small but healthy population.
The apex mammalian predator at REGUA is the Puma Puma concolor. The presence of Puma at REGUA was confirmed by Eduardo Rubiao in 2004 using a camera trap. Pugmarks and other signs are often found on the Elfin Forest Trail but they are very rarely seen, although daylight sightings have been made by our rangers and some guests on the Elfin Forest Trail and Lost Trail. With the increase in the numbers of Capybara at the wetland, Puma have also now been caught on camera trap on the surrounding trails and even been heard at night at the wetland.
Two species of introduced primates that are non-native to this part of the Atlantic Forest are present at REGUA – the Common Marmoset and Black-tufted Marmoset Callithrix penicillata, the former now a frequent visitor to the feeders in the lodge garden.