Fota Wildlife Park has announced the birth of a critically endangered Columbian black spider monkey, to proud parents Norma and Pinky.
The new baby spider monkey was born on March 4, as part of a European endangered breeding programme (EEP).
The new baby is particularly good news as the Columbian black spider monkey is critically endangered, due to hunting, habitat destruction and a long birth cycle. Females only give birth every two or three years.
Mother, Norma, is eleven years old, and she arrived in Fota Wildlife Park in 2015 from Le Bioparc de Doué-la-Fontaine in France. Ten-year-old father Pinky was born at Fota.
This is Norma and Pinky’s third baby together, and they’re calling on the public to help name the newest member of the family – all name suggestions can be submitted at www.fotawildlife.ie/news.
Native to Columbia and Panama, Columbian black spider monkeys have extremely flexible tails with a hairless tip for gripping, that is unique to each animal, like a human fingerprint.
Black spider monkeys are the largest New World monkey, and can usually be found in the wild hanging out 2,500 metres above the ground in the canopies of humid forests, munching on fruit and leaves.
Fota’s spider monkeys recently moved into a brand new house part-funded by the Government via the Office of Public Works, purpose built with an upgraded outdoor habitat, complete with an extended island and a new water moat and waterfall.
Teresa Power, Lead Ranger said they are always delighted to announce the birth of any critically endangered animal, as it helps to raise awareness about species loss in the wild, and Fota’s conservation work.
The new baby has been nibbling at fruit and veg and is becoming more active around the recently upgraded Spider monkey enclosure," she said.
All visitors looking to visit the new spider monkey baby will need to pre-book their ticket in advance on www.fotawildlife.ie.