Rossi, M. J., de Oliveira Fermoseli, A. F., Hirano, Z. M. B. et al. 2020. Adoption of an orphaned and temporarily captive infant by an unrelated adult female in black-and-gold howler monkey: Implications for management strategies. Primates 61(2), 169–174.

Conservation behavior involves the application of general principles of animal behavior for solving conservation problems. In primates, adoption of infants has been reported in several species and consists of an individual other than the biological parents taking primary care of them. Based on cases of adoption reported in howler monkeys (genus Alouatta), in the present study we facilitated the adoption of an orphaned and temporarily captive male infant by an unrelated adult female black-and-gold howler monkey (A. caraya), in the wild. The adoption process involved presenting the orphaned infant, inside a cage, to the female in the forest fragment that she occupied. We recorded the interactions between the individuals, and decided to open the cage. The female became the sole caregiver of the orphan, providing him with protection, transportation, and feeding, although she did not nurse him. The follow-up of these same individuals between 2006 and 2007 confirmed the success of the adoption. These findings indicate that carefully managed adoption can be a possible management strategy for the conservation and the welfare of howler monkeys in both nature and captivity.

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