Q:

Why are spider monkeys endangered?

A:

Spider monkeys are endangered mainly due to habitat loss and hunting. Their slow reproductive rate also makes them vulnerable, as a female spider monkey only has one baby every two to four years.

Spider monkey habitat loss occurs due to logging of forests as well as clearing for land use such as slash-and-burn agriculture, cattle ranching and commercial farming for crops such as coffee, cocoa and soy. Timber plantations replace indigenous forests. Mining of bauxite, clay, granite and sand causes deforestation, erosion and the pollution of fresh water supplies. Illegal palm harvesting decimates entire stands of palm trees. Highways, farmlands and urban areas interrupt habitats, and because they prefer old growth and avoid disturbed areas, spider monkeys do not respond well to habitat fragmentation. In some areas, spider monkeys are hunted for sport and for food. They are also captured for pet trafficking.

As of 2014, efforts to protect spider monkeys include research about the size and status of current populations, the effectiveness of protected areas and the extent of poaching. A number of national parks, state parks and environmental protection areas are established in South American countries such as Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. However, in some areas, the presence of political insurgents and the military as well as the lack of park rangers makes enforcement problematic.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are the enemies of spider monkeys?

    A:

    According to the University of Michigan, the enemies, or predators, of spider monkeys are jaguars, pumas, ocelots, margays and harpy eagles. The biggest threat to this animal, however, is humans.

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  • Q:

    Where do spider monkeys live?

    A:

    Spider monkeys live in the upper canopy of the tropical rain forests in Central and South America. They live in the trees of regions with tropical climates and can sometimes be found in Mexico.

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  • Q:

    How long do spider monkeys live?

    A:

    In its natural environment, the spider monkey can live up to 25 years. In captivity, spider monkeys have been known to live for as long as 40 years.

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  • Q:

    What do spider monkeys eat?

    A:

    Spider monkeys are omnivores that typically feed on fruits, leaves, nuts and spiders. Some also eat honey, bird eggs or bark. They spend the majority of their time in the tops of trees, and this is where they acquire their food. The lead female of a group of spider monkeys is typically in charge of finding food sources and leading the others in the group toward them.

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