project news

Monkey Madness

News item submitted by Flora O'Brien
News item dated 29 Sep 2010


The Frontier Costa Rica Forest team have spotted many a monkey over the past months.  As the wet season got into full swing, the intrepid volunteers conducted weekly walks along the trails of the tropical forests in the Osa Peninsula, SE Costa Rica.  The most commonly sighted primate was the Spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi), which is listed as critically endangered according to the IUCN Red List (2008).  This is exciting news since the spider monkey had reportedly suffered dramatic population declines over the past 45 years.  As its range is limited to Costa Rica and neighbouring countries Nicuaragua and Panama, it is of the utmost importance that this characteristic species is protected and monitored to stop it being wiped out altogether.  A highly frugivorous species, the spider monkey serves as a seed disperser- an important role in maintaining tropical plant communities.  Spider monkeys spend most of their time high up in the canopy, living in troops of around 20 individuals.

Also spotted by the volunteers were the Squirrel Monkey (Saimiri oerstedii) which is listed as vulnerable; the Howler Monkey (Alouatta palliata), and the more common White-faced Capuchin monkey (Cebus capueinus).

Specialists believe that the dominant cause for the severe declines in spider monkey numbers, as well as many other species, is habitat loss.   In Costa Rica, however, where almost a quarter of the counrty’s land area is protected, the largest percentage of protected area in the world, we can only hope that the situation for these monkeys improves.

Read more about our Costa Rica Wildlife Rescue Centre