Disease, Hunting, Pet Trade, Deforestation

Geoffroy's Spider Monkey (Ateles geoffroyi) is an endangered New World monkey that lives in México. Drs. Colleen Schaffner, Filippo Aureli, and researcher Denise Spaan know a lot about this agile primate and were kind enough to take the time to come to our Chunyaxché session and speak with the children.


"What is the name of this primate?" asks Filippo and Colleen.

As the title to this post suggests, spider monkeys face many serious threats. We learn that these monkeys can die from the Human Herpes Virus Simplex 1 if transferred from person to animal. Additionally, people hunt spider monkeys for food but usually to supply the pet trade. If you have been to Playa del Carmen here in the Riviera Maya you may have been asked to pose for a picture with a monkey or other wild animal, for a fee of course. This is illegal so please walk away. Families are prone to take spider monkeys as pets which usually means they file down their teeth and chain them. This is absolutely no life for a wild animal let alone a monkey which his/her primary place is in the canopy of an intact forest not to mention the danger the animal may inflict upon its 'owners' and family.


Colleen and Filippo demonstrate an embrace as frequently displayed in spider monkey behaviour.

It is exhilarating to watch spider monkeys glide through the forest. They have been compared to the extraordinary acrobatic gibbons because of their agility. Their long prehensile tail with a rubbery point is used as a fifth limb which, by the way, is longer than their body measuring 63 to 85cm in length.


Edgar with visitor and spider monkey researcher Denise.

Spider monkeys thrive in the forest so when forests are destroyed, well, their existence is threatened. Their food and safe habitat for raising young dwindles due to clearing of land. These endangered primates do such a beneficial service by spreading seeds here and there. They are some of the best tree planters around since they eat seeds, travel, and finally deficate. Thanks monkeys!


Painting a spider monkey hanging from its tail in the forest.

Our guests, Colleen, Filippo, and Denise, stuck around after their fabulous presentation and observes a fun painting exercise. 



Experimenting with different watercolor techniques, children paint a spider monkey and background. 

Pato and Pluma begin the art section of our class with experimenting with color washes and different brush strokes. Children then draw and paint a proportionally correct monkey keeping in mind all that we just discussed and learned.


Pato and Pluma are very pleased with the work!


Close-up of a spider monkey's face.


Happy students, spider monkey experts, teachers, children, and team.

Let's do our best to protect spider monkeys and their habitat. Kids in Chunyaxché are doing it!

Please consider a financial gift to Art of ConservationAll donations are tax deductible and directly benefit the children we work with. Any amount is greatly appreciated. 

Thank you so much for your support. 


Julie Ghrist and the AoC Team 

Feel free to contact us for more information at julie@art-of-conservation.org


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