27 January 2015

The Colombian black-headed spider monkeys, a species native to Colombia and Panama, arrived within a few days of each other to mum’s Christine and Mary.

Christine cradles her baby

Claire Parry, the zoo’s assistant team manager of primates, said:

Both of our new black-headed spider monkey mums are taking great care of their little ones, spending lots of time cradling them. They’ll continue to care for them in this way until the youngsters are weaned at the age of 20 months.

Although sometimes known as black-headed spider monkeys, our new arrivals are so young that their heads are still rather pink!

Black-headed spider monkeys are classed as critically endangered in the wild by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The species is under pressure from a high rate of habitat loss due to deforestation and hunting for their meat.

Mary and her baby

Black-headedspider monkey facts

  • Latin name is Ateles fusciceps rufiventris
  • The species is classed as critically endangered in the wild by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), meaning they face a very real threat of extinction
  • They are native to Colombia and Panama
  • The species is under pressure from a high rate of habitat loss due to deforestation and huge hunting pressure
  • A single infant is born and is cared for by its mother until around the age of 20 months
  • They primarily eat fruit but will also occasionally consume leaves, flowers and insects
  • The first of Chester Zoo’s new arrivals was born to mum Christine on 06/03/15. The second was born to mum Mary on 27/03/15
  • The genders of the new arrivals are not yet know