One of the most difficult challenges of this project is getting our radio-collared agoutis to remove and cache tagged seeds. We have just completed our first successful seed experiment trials. As one can see from the video, Frank takes three seeds from the experiment. He buries two of them right next to the experiment and then carries the third away. Once we match up the tagged seed to the collared agouti from the photos, we return to the cached seeds and attach a radio tag to monitor the fate of the seed. In this case, Frank didn’t carry the seeds very far. We think he might come back to these seeds later, move them further from the experiment, and then save them to eat during the lean months when few foods are available.
A radio tag tied to a cached seed. Note the bright yellow string partially buried in the ground. At the other end of the string is a buried Astrocaryum seed. After this picture was taken, we attached the transmitter to a small magnet duct taped to a nail in the ground (you can see the top of the green duct tape just above the seed transmitter). The long wire on the transmitter increases the signal strength and allows us to monitor any movements of the seed using the ARTS system.