Rare Colombian Black-Headed Spider Monkey Born at Chester Zoo to Mom Kiara
This barrel just got one monkey fuller!
England's Chester Zoo has welcomed a new addition to its family of primates — a baby Colombian black-headed spider monkey.
According to the zoo in Upton-by-Chester, Cheshire, experienced mom Kiara welcomed the newborn back on Aug. 29. The sex of the baby animal is not yet known as it's still clinging tightly to its mom.
Deputy Curator of Mammals Dr. Nick Davis explained what the baby spider monkey's birth means for its species as a whole in the zoo's official announcement.
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"Colombian black-headed spider monkeys are vulnerable to extinction and so Kiara's precious newcomer is a great addition to the international breeding programme for the species," he shared.
"It's fantastic to see Kiara cradle her new baby closely – she's an experienced mum so has slipped right back into motherhood. The infant will start to venture off after around 6 months, but they'll stay close to mum for about 12 months when the little one will be strong and confident enough to forage for food and climb independently. Keepers will be able to determine the sex once the infant starts to leave mum in a few months' time," Dr. Davis added.
The zoo's primatology expert also said the spider monkeys are "incredibly agile and fascinating to watch" while describing the newborn's family, who are native to Colombia and Panama.
"This species gets its name from its appearance – their long, narrow limbs, long tails and black fur make them look almost spider-like. Their tails are often longer than their bodies and can be up to 85cm long, which acts as an extra limb, allowing them to move between tree branches while collecting food with their hands," noted Dr. Davis.
Conservationists say Colombian black-headed spider monkeys are vulnerable in the wild due to habitat destruction, hunting, and illegal trafficking.
Proud mom Kiara is 11 years old, while dad Popoyan is 32.
According to their website, Chester Zoo is home to 20,000 animals from more than 500 different species and is the U.K.'s most visited zoo.