Squirrel monkeys made up more than half the primates imported to Mexico from Guyana between 2000 and 2005. Fortunately, in January 2006, Mexico's General Wildlife Act was modified to ban the import and export of both primates and marine mammals for exhibition purposes. The law is a conservation tool for wild populations, but it will also pay off for captive animals, as facilities must improve their welfare policies now that the creatures are no longer replaceable (see story).
Meanwhile, squirrel monkeys are facing other threats. Dead monkeys were recently discovered in Costa Rica's Corcovado National Park, and the cause of their demise was starvation. The animals rely on a diet of fruit, insects, leaves and stems, and global warming-induced climate change in the rainforest has led to excessive rainfall that caused trees to not bear fruit. This weather also made it difficult for the monkeys to forage for food on the ground. If we do not take drastic measures to reverse the problem, global warming will have similarly devastating effects on animal populations across the globe (see story).
Photo by Sa Team/Foto Natura/Minden Pictures
Full AWI Quarterly - Spring 2006 as PDF