Endangered Species: The Panamanian Spider Monkey

Topics: Costa Rica, Primate, Spider monkey Pages: 5 (1824 words) Published: October 30, 2013
Final Paper: Endangered Species Paper
The Panamanian Spider Monkey

I have always been extremely interested in and moved by the scores of endangered species out there. Whether they are plants or animals, I have always been an advocate for the wild life in need. It took hours to pick which specific species I wanted to focus on for this particular project, but after much research and a personal connection, I chose the Panamanian Spider Monkey. Ever since I was a little girl I have had a special spot for monkeys. Before I understood that it was illegal to own one I begged my parents daily to get me one as a pet. Though they could not grant that particular wish of mine, they did get me a substitute. One day at the F.A.O. Schwartz in San Francisco, my mother surprised me with the closest thing I would get to the privilege of owning a real monkey. She bought me a stuffed animal Spider Monkey that I proceeded then to name “Tail”, and I loved him as if he were actually real. As for the real living and breathing monkeys, the Panamanian Spider Monkey is also known as Geoffrey’s Spider Monkey, of which it is a subspecies. The Biological Classification of the Panamanian Spider Monkey starts in the Family Atelidae to Alouattinae, then to the Subfamily Atelinae, moving on to its Genus, which is Ateles, and then to the Ateles geoffroyi. The life cycle of this monkey is a relatively long one. The Spider Monkey is able to live up to 27 years in the wild, even more in captivity. The gestation period for this monkey lasts around 230 days. The infant dependency after that lasts for about 2 years, with the baby spider monkey living off of its mothers milk during this period of time. The spider monkey baby is carried by its mother on her front side for about the first five months of life, then it will transition to being carried on its mothers back. Between the ages of 24-months-old to 50-months-old, the baby will no longer cling onto its mother, but will stay close by while exploring the environment around them. The Spider Monkey is sexually mature at around 5 to 6 years of age, and the females tend to leave their natal group upon reaching this sexual maturity. But the reproduction rate of these animals is not very high, only 1 birth every 3 years. The Panamanian Spider Monkey has populations in Costa Rica and Panama (thus the name). The population in Costa Rica is known at 7,225, last updated in the year 2007. But the exact number or estimate of the population of the animal in Panama is unknown. These monkeys are very social animals but they do not readily interact with many other species. They are tolerant of humans, even though humans have been known to hunt them. But their natural predators are animals such as Jaguars, Pumas, Ocelots, and large snakes, but the monkeys themselves are not carnivorous. They live off of seeds, nuts and fruits. They eat the insides of fruits and they widely prefer to eat the ripest fruits they can find. But occasionally they will eat insects, spiders, and eggs. They mainly live in the upper canopy in primary rainforests, preferring this upper canopy because it is where they get least disturbed. Their habitat also goes hand in hand with what they eat, being the fruits that are found higher up, especially those yummy ripe ones.

There are many reasons why this wonderful species is endangered. Sadly, humans are one of those reasons. Hunting by humans is a large reason why they are endangered, and there are specific reasons why they have been widely hunted. The fact that they have to travel quite far to find their food means that their muscles are well developed making them a source of wild meat preferred by hunters. Another reason that this species of monkey has been a preferred target is that they are very loud and social animals, travelling in packs of up to forty monkeys at a time. These facts make it easy for hunters to find them. Unfortunately, as mentioned before, spider monkeys reproduce only every 3...

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Community Conservation, Catalysts for Global Change. (2011). Primates of Punta Burica.
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