By Sebastian Hanson, Youth Manager
Black Spider Monkeys make their home in the rainforests of South and Central America. These primates form a community with many other members of their species and work together to survive life in the rainforest. They are masters of their environment and manage to work with the earth and each other. These Monkeys are currently vulnerable as a species, meaning they face a high risk of extinction in the near future. They swing among the branches of the Amazon rainforest and can hopefully continue to do so if we make a sustained effort to protect them.
Given that they live among thick leaves and branches, Black Spider Monkeys make great use of the nearby foliage to assist them with their dietary needs. They are classified as frugivores, meaning that their diets most often consist of fruit and seeds. They occasionally eat small insects and eggs of various species, but prefer to stick to their typical diet when possible. Led by a lead female, the monkeys form forage groups various times of the day to gather whatever food they find so they can bring it back to their commune. Their tails also make use when collecting food to pick up items and hang from branches. Black Spider Monkey are (to no surprise) covered with slick, black fur. Adults can range from weighing around 15 to 19 pounds and have a height from 16 to around 24 inches.
Why they are important: These frugivores contribute to tropical rainforest ecosystem diversity by dispersing seeds!
Why they are going extinct: Their current habitat is being reduced by human activity such as hunting and deforestation. Black Spider Monkeys thrive in undisturbed forest and steer clear of any obstructions, so they are especially vulnerable to habitat destruction. In addition, they have a slow reproductive rate and therefore cannot increase their population quickly.
How you can help:
1. Petition for reduced activity in the Amazon rainforest.
2. Support organizations like World Wildlife Fund that take action to protect forests Black Spider Monkeys reside in.
3. Support government initiatives that fight for forest conservation.
Want more of The Endangered? Check out the growing list of articles on our Wildlife page.