It’s been a productive Christmas for Taronga Western Plains Zoo, with another spider monkey born on the 21st of December 2017.
The female black-handed spider monkey, born to first time mother Margarita and father Pedro is yet to be named. She follows another spider monkey, Isadora who was the first spider monkey to be born at Taronga in 16 years.
“We are very excited to announce the arrival of another healthy female spider monkey baby, marking a wonderful boost to the spider monkey breeding program,” Keeper Mel Friedman said.
“The baby’s mother, Margarita, is one of the last female spider monkeys to be born at the Zoo, 16 years ago. She has been proving her skills as an excellent mother, and has been taking great care of the baby, who clings to her belly as Margarita swings around her island home.
Image: Rick Stevens, Taronga Zoo
“Margarita is quite a private individual compared to Jai (Isadora’s mother), who is more social, but now and then she allows her Keepers to see the baby up close, which is very special,” she said.
Receiving Pedro, a breeding male in 2014 from France ended the 16 year hiatus at Taronga Zoo.
“Pedro is a highly valuable spider monkey male in the Australia/New Zealand region due to his genetics, and he has certainly been a great addition to the breeding group,” Mel said.
“We were delighted when baby Isadora arrived in October last year, so to have two babies born in a three-month period is fantastic,” she said.
Keepers expect the baby will become more active later in the year where she will interact with Jai’s four month old, Isadora.
The black-handed spider monkey is found in Mexico and throughout Central America. The species is classified as endangered due to habitat loss.
Lead image: Spider monkey baby, Rick Stevens, Taronga Western Plains Zoo