Critically endangered baby Colombian black spider monkey born at Fota Wildlife Park

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The critically endangered baby Colombian black spider monkey was born at Fota Wildlife Park. (Photo: Darragh Kane)

Fota Animal Park has announced the birth of a Colombian black spider monkey, Ateles fusciceps rufiventris, to mother Norma and father Pinky under a European Endangered Breeding Program (EEP) and calls on the audience to help name the baby.

The new baby spider monkey was born on March 4 and is Norma and Pinky’s third baby together. His mother, Norma, is eleven years old and she arrived at the animal park of Fota in 2015 from the Bioparc of Doué-la-Fontaine in France. The father of ten, Pinky, was born in Fota.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the Colombian black spider monkey as critically endangered due to hunting, habitat destruction, and a long birth cycle. Females only give birth every two or three years.

NEW HOUSING FOTA

The spider monkeys have recently moved into their new purpose-built home and improved outdoor habitat, which includes an extended island and a new water moat and waterfall. This project was partly funded by the government through the Bureau of Public Works, which also supported other capital projects at Fota Wildlife Park, including repairs to the south dyke and construction of the howler monkey house .

Teresa Power, Lead Ranger, said: “We are thrilled to announce the birth of any Critically Endangered animal. It helps us raise awareness of species loss in the wild and conservation work here at Fota. Animal parks and zoos in Europe operate cooperative breeding programs as a demographic and genetic backup of wild populations.

“We don’t know yet if the baby is a boy or a girl, but there are already two big sisters in the group, Guadalupe, born in 2017 and Blinky, born in 2020. The new baby has been snacking on fruits and vegetables. and becomes more active around the newly upgraded spider monkey enclosure.

HELP WITH THE NAME

The Colombian black spider monkey is a subspecies and is native to Colombia and Panama and has a black body, long limbs and an extremely flexible tail with a hairless tip for grasping which, like a human fingerprint, is unique to each animal.

The black spider monkey is the largest New World monkey and is found in moist forests up to 2,500 meters above sea level. It is also an arboreal species, spending its time high in the canopy. He primarily eats fruit, though he also consumes leaves for protein and has a pot-bellied appearance due to his large stomach.

Fota Wildlife Park, part of the Zoological Society of Ireland, is located on 100 acres on Fota Island, 10 km east of Cork city. Fota Wildlife Park is a conservation charity and welcomes over 475,000 visitors each year, making it one of Ireland’s top tourist attractions.

Name suggestions and the chance to win an annual conservation pass are made via a form on the blog at www.fotawildlife.ie/news

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