A new Bornean orangutan was born at the Barcelona Zoo in May. The baby is in perfect health and has already been seen clinging to its mother and breast feeding. This is the third daughter of Jawi, an orangutan also born at the Zoo twenty-five years ago, and Karl.
The new baby brings the number of orangutans in the Zoo complex to seven. This species is in critical danger of extinction in its natural habitat, owing to deforestation in Borneo and Sumatra through the felling of trees and cultivation of palm oil.
The little primate has been in the care of the Zoo’s Keepers since birth. Unfortunately, new mother Pearl wasn’t sure how to care for her newborn and keepers stepped in to assist. Now, L’Oli is old enough to begin to try living among her peers. It has not been an easy process, but after many attempts at socialization, she is now living with the other Spider Monkeys at the Zoo.
Photo Credits: Zoo Barcelona
Spider Monkeys, of the genus Ateles, are New World monkeys native to the tropical forests of Central and South America, from southern Mexico to Brazil. The genus contains seven species, all of which are under threat; the Black-headed Spider Monkey and Brown Spider Monkey are “Critically Endangered”.
Spider Monkeys form loose groups of 15 to 40 individuals. During the day, groups break into smaller subgroups to search for food. They communicate using posturing and barks. The monkeys are diurnal and spend the night sleeping in carefully selected trees.
They are among the largest New World monkeys and have an average weight of 11 kilograms (24 lbs.) for males and 9.66 kg (21.3 lbs.) for females. Their prehensile tails can be up to 35 inches long.
The Spider Monkey’s gestation period ranges from 226 to 232 days. Females average a single birth every three to four years. Infants rely on their mothers for up to 10 months of age. Males have no involvement in rearing the offspring. For the first month after birth, a mother carries her infant around her belly
The monkeys are considered an important food source due their size and are widely hunted by local human populations. Their numbers are also threatened by habitat destruction due to logging and land clearing. They are also used as lab animals in the study of malaria. According to the IUCN, their population trend is decreasing; one species is listed as “Vulnerable”, four are listed as “Endangered”, and two as “Critically Endangered”.