Spider Monkey Experts Talk With The Kids

Recently we were fortunate to have spider and howler monkey experts, Drs. Colleen, Filippo, and Luisa of ConMonoMaya, emerge from the jungle at Punta Laguna and visit our class at Escuela Primaria Ignacio Zaragoza in Macario Gómez. 

Luisa shared a slide show which included beautiful photos of monkeys and great apes. Most of our students have seen spider and howler monkeys but the sad truth is that it's due to their family or community members having them as pets. Ouch. Luisa explained why having a wild animal as a pet is not a good idea and who to reach out to for support.

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Luisa shares information with the children.

A few months ago I visited Colleen and Filippo (please click here for my previous post). I learned about spider monkeys and their plight in the Yucatan Peninsula. Their non-profit organization, ConMonoMaya, is dedicated to the conservation of monkeys and their habitat in the Yucatan. ConMonoMaya has a Facebook page. 

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At this point in our program, children are exploring all kinds of mediums to support our creative learning. Below is a spider monkey face by student Wilberth. I added a few ways to protect spider monkeys.

Spider monkeys glide through the canopies of undisturbed forests. They rarely are on the ground. To chop up forests is to disturb their home. Often, monkeys are taken as pets but inevitably they grow up and as we know wild animals have unpredictable behavior which puts people and the animal itself in danger. Try to imagine how one single monkey ended up as a pet. Spider monkeys live in large groups and subgroups. How is a monkey, usually a baby or juvenile, extracted from its group? The group certainly experienced a disturbance. Spider monkeys have a slow reproductive rate. Females only have offspring about once every three years. This means that it takes a long time for a population to recover... if there is safe and adequate habitat.

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Colleen and Filippo demonstrate an embrace observed in wild spider monkey behavior.

Colleen and Filippo have published material on aggression and conflict management at fusion in spider monkeys. As you can see in the photo above, the kids were very curious watching Colleen and Filippo demonstrate what the experts call fission-fusion dynamics! Please click here for a few of their articles in Current Biology. 

All of us at Art of Conservation would like to thank Colleen, Filippo, and Luisa again for the time they spent with the kids. We wish ConMonoMaya continued success. 

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