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Dublin: 6 °C Saturday 24 March, 2018

A new cute baby spider monkey has been born at Fota

Colombian spider monkeys are critically endangered in the wild.

FOTA WILDLIFE PARK have announced the birth of a new critically endangered primate, a baby Colombian spider monkey.

The baby was born to mum, Batty (born in 1990) and dad Arnold (born 1994) on 4 April – but its mother had kept the newborn well hidden until the last few days.

The sex of the newborn is not yet known and therefore has yet to be named, said Teresa Power, primate lead warden at Fota Wildlife Park.

Both the new baby and new mother are doing very well and Batty is taking great care of her little baby.

spider-FOTA8731 Source: Fota Wildlife Park

“Births in the wildlife park are always special, but the birth of such a critically endangered species is a joyous event and a great reminder of why breeding programmes in wildlife parks and zoos are so important,” she added.

The Colombian spider monkey has gone from vulnerable to ‘critically endangered’ in the wild according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).<

They have a prehensile tail, meaning it is extremely flexible and acts as another limb, allowing them to carry out acrobatics in the canopy.

The baby spider monkey is NOT to be confused with the spider baby of Father Ted fame.

spider-088A1883 Source: Fota Wildlife Park

Large brain

Spider monkeys are second only to gibbons in their agility up in the treetops and their brain is twice the size of the brain of a howler monkey of equivalent body size.

Their large brain is thought to be the result of their complex social structure entitled ‘fission-fusion’ which occurs with other primates such as the chimpanzee.

Their frugivorous diet requires them to remember the locations of ripe fruit in the forest.

spider-FOTA8739 Source: Fota Wildlife Park

A benefit of their exceptional climbing skills is that they don’t have many natural predators, as being so high up in the trees, they are pretty difficult to catch.

The species is under pressure from a high rate of habitat loss, due to deforestation and being targeted by hunters for meat or for sport.

Read: Fota Wildlife Park celebrates birth of baby cheetah
Read: There’s a new baby gorilla in our midst…

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