04 December 2014
HOLD ON! A 12-week-old buffy-headed capuchin monkey hitches a ride with mum at Chester Zoo. The buffy-headed capuchin is one of the world’s rarest species of primates.

The buffy-headed capuchin, which is listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as being critically endangered in the wild, arrived after a 180 day pregnancy for its 15-year-old mum.

The arrival brings the number of buffy-headed capuchins at the zoo to eight.

Assistant curator of mammals, Dr Nick Davis, said:

The buffy-headed capuchin is one of the world’s rarest species of primates. In the past they were abundant in the Atlantic rainforests of eastern Brazil but sadly they’re now on the verge of disappearing from the wild because of severe destruction to their habitat and intense hunting.

We’re pleased to say though that our new youngster is doing extremely well and is now confidently out and about, being carried by mum.

Keepers won’t know the sex of their new charge for several weeks. 

Buffy-headed capuchin facts

  • The buffy-headed capuchin is a fairly small monkey with reddish-brown fur and a sharply marked yellow to golden chest
  • They are also known as yellow-breasted or golden-bellied capuchins
  • Its Latin name is Cebus xanthosternos
  • Buffy-headed capuchins are endemic to small areas of rainforest on the Atlantic coast of Brazil
  • The species is classed as critically endangered in the wild by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This is a result of a severe population decline due to extensive habitat loss over the last 50 years. It is estimated that more than 80% of their natural range has been lost and the species is now only know to live in several small protected areas. They are also heavily hunted for meat and collected as pets
  • They have been named as one of the world’s 25 most endangered primates by the IUCN
  • Their diet consists of a wide variety of fruits, seeds, stems, flowers and leaves as well as insects, spiders frogs, young birds and even small mammals
  • It is a social monkey that lives in groups, usually with more males than females 
  • Males are slightly larger and heavier than females
  • The group communicates through barks, growls, screams, chatters, trills, twitters, purrs, whistles and warbles
  • Chester Zoo’s new youngster was born on 13/08/2014. It is now three months old
  • Mum was born on 17/12/1988 
  • Dad was born on 01/02/1991
  • Both parents arrived at the zoo in 1996 from the Rio Primate Centre as part of setting up a population in European zoos 
  • Gestation lasts 180 days and females give birth to just one offspring at a time