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Rare spider monkey born at Chester Zoo

The birth of a Colombian black-headed spider monkey is being celebrated at Chester Zoo.

The rare baby primate, born on 29th August, will be cared for by mum Kiara, 11, until around the age of 20 months. Keepers will be able to tell if the little one is a boy or a girl once it gains more independence.

Spider monkey and baby in the trees © Chester Zoo

Colombian black-headed spider monkeys are at risk of extinction in the wild, with more than a quarter of its population estimated to have been lost in just the last half a century.

Conservationists say the new arrival is an important boost to the international breeding programme, which is working to protect the species.

The South American primates are found mainly in Colombia and Panama, where they are being increasingly threatened by hunting, illegal trafficking and the destruction of their tropical rainforest habitat.


Spider monkey baby © Chester Zoo

The species gets its name from its appearance, which includes long, narrow limbs, long tails, and black fur that resembles spiders. Their tails are frequently longer than their bodies and can grow to be up to 85cm long, acting as an extra limb that allows them to move between tree branches while collecting food with their hands.

Spider monkeys are incredibly agile and fascinating to watch, spending the majority of their time high up in trees, leaping distances of up to nine metres. They can walk upright and communicate with high-frequency whinny vocalisations.

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