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Macaques in Puerto Rico learned to share shade after Hurricane Maria

After Hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico in 2017, monkeys living there forged new bonds to share a suddenly scarce resource: shade.

Rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) that were willing to hang out with others boosted their chance of survival in the storm’s aftermath, researchers report July 24 at That newfound sociability may have allowed multiple animals to escape the scorching heat of the day beneath any trees left standing, and any other source of shade they could find.

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Related: Oct 6, 2017NPRCs Pitching in: Recovery Continues for the Caribbean Primate Research Center – Puerto Rico

The Washington National Primate Research Center was tapped to serve as the coordinating center to oversee the combined pledge of funds from the NPRCs in California, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin totaling $30,000.

This aid will arrive in Puerto Rico by way of a container ship with vital supplies and equipment. The NIH is facilitating these operations, and FEMA is prioritizing urgent animal support supplies in order to avoid some of the supply chain backups that have plagued ground distribution in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Photos c/o Angelina Ruiz Lambides, Associate Director, Scientist-in-Charge at the Cayo Santiago Biological Field Station, University of Puerto Rico


On Monkey Island, scientists have rare access to more than 6 decades of biological, behavioral data