Colombian Black Spider Monkey Animals & Plants

About the Colombian Black Spider Monkey

Much as its name suggests, the Colombian Black Spider Monkey is a black-coloured primate that uses its long limbs, thumb-less hands and prehensile (grasping), flexible tail to climb around its forest home. Unlike other monkeys, however, it drags its arms along the ground while moving around and, instead, uses its tail for balancing. The female is slightly larger than the male and can weigh up to 20 pounds.

Habitat

The Black Spider Monkey is the largest of the New World monkeys and is found in humid forests up to 2,500 metres above sea level in Colombia and Panama. It's also an arboreal species, spending the vast majority of its time up high in the canopy.

Wild Notes

Found in social groups of up to 30 individuals, the monkeys break up into smaller foraging groups of between three and four to feed, usually led by a female. It eats a diet mainly of fruit, though it also consumes leaves for protein and has a pot-bellied appearance because of its large stomach. Its brain is up to twice the size of a Howler Monkey's (in equivalent body size) and this is thought to be because of the monkey’s more complex social system and frugivorous diet.

Conservation

Colombian Black Spider Monkeys are listed as Critically Endangered for several reasons. The primate is hunted for its meat and is under threat from habitat destruction. It has also been used in laboratory studies of malaria in the past, while late maturation and long birth intervals make it difficult for its numbers to recover in the wild.

Did you know?

Spider monkeys fill an important ecological role in South America. The primates feed on an assortment of fruits and as they travel throughout their environment, they disperse undigested seeds through their manure. These then sprout and replenish the rainforest vegetation.

The Fota Connection

Another species that has been at the Park for many years, the Black Spider Monkey group is led by one of the Park’s most popular animals – the legend that is Old Blue Eyes. The veteran monkey was found attached to her dead mother in Bolivia in 1970 and was subsequently taken into care. She arrived in Cork from Chester Zoo and lives with her group in a tree-filled corner of the Park, an area that is as close to a jungle habitat as is possible in Fota.

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The impetus for the development of the Asia Sanctuary is to enhance the Wildlife Park to become an iconic international visitor attraction.

The concept of the development will be in line with the existing unique open nature of the Wildlife Park but will be designed to give this new development an authentic Asian ambiance.

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