Living Links Newsletter – September 2023

Welcome to the September edition of the Living Links newsletter – your source of all things monkey and more!

What’s new at Living Links?


This month, we have had some special research platforms installed in each of our West and East enclosures! The small square platforms will allow us to attach special research equipment, puzzle boxes and enrichment to specified locations in the enclosures that we can easily film from the balcony or research rooms. The monkeys immediately loved the new resting spots and have even been exploring their strength- click the link to see Cayenne with his rock!

This opens up a host of possible research experiments that will enhance current research activities at Living Links. Back in 2022 we piloted an enclosure research experiment involving individual and cooperative food puzzle boxes, which showed great promise, so we have great hope for group experiments in the enclosures- watch this space!

Visitor Experience

Last month, we launched our demo Citizen Science game. Online and offline versions of the game allow researchers to tailor the game to different age groups, inviting visitors to take part in real research by first completing scientist training and then collecting data on the monkeys in the East enclosure.

It’s been a huge success! Feedback from visitors shows great enthusiasm about learning more about capuchins and squirrel monkeys and the areas that they like to hang out in the most. Thank you to everyone who has stopped by so far, we hope to see more of you become true Living Links scientists.

Do you want to be a scientist?

Monkey of the Month

Our monkey in the spotlight this month is Elie! Elie is one of the more dominant monkeys in the East Group, mother to Flora, Lexi and Amarilla. She is easy to spot due to her large size and bright yellow bead necklace. She is curious and inquisitive, making her good at research. She likes to get access to the research games first and will pull other monkeys out by the tail if they try to jump in front of her.

Did you know…

Capuchins have prehensile tails (a tail adapted to grasp objects) whereas squirrel monkeys do not.

This means that for the capuchins, their tail can be used to grip or swing through branches, whereas for the squirrel monkeys, their tail can help them keep their balance or communicate with their group mates.

Question of the Month

Q: How many monkeys live at Living Links?

A: Currently, there are 21 East Group capuchins, 17 West Group capuchins, 13 East Group squirrel monkeys and 16 West Group squirrel monkeys. 68 individuals in total – that’s a lot of monkeys!

Do you have pressing questions for the researchers at Living Links? This is your opportunity to ask! Each month, our researchers will go through your questions and choose one to answer using their expertise.


Researcher of the Month

This month, the researcher in the spotlight is our Research Coordinator Kate Grounds. Kate has a MSc in Primate Conservation and some impressive research experience under her belt – from fieldwork with chimpanzees, toque macaques and vervet monkeys, to work on horse social cognition and emotional  awareness! She also spent 5 years in conservation project management with citizen science organisation Earthwatch.

Kate’s role manages all the students and research activities at both Living Links and the Budongo Research Unit (our chimpanzee research centre), and her hard work behind the scenes is the reason that research runs so smoothly. From scheduling all research, reviewing applications, liaising with the keeper team, training students in research practices and developing new  research initiatives, Kate does it all!

Besides that, she is a master with tools and a camera – she took most of the pictures you see in this newsletter and in our blog. Thank you, Kate!


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