Fota Wildlife Park welcomes birth of baby spider monkey

Fota's latest arrival will be named once its sex is known

Fota Wildlife Park

Photo: Fota Wildlife Park

Fota Wildlife Park in Cork has announced the birth of a baby Columbian spider monkey, now on view to visitors.

The baby, whose sex is not yet known, was born to mum Batty and dad Arnold on April 4th.

Its mother had been keeping her new offspring close and hidden, but the pair are now out and about, according to the park.

Teresa Power, primate lead warden, said: “Both the new baby and new mother are doing very well and Batty is taking great care of her little baby.

“Births in the wildlife park are always special but the birth of such a critically endangered species is a joyous event and a great reminder of why breeding programmes in wildlife parks and zoos are so important.”

The Columbian spider monkey is deemed to be at risk of extinction in the wild by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Its population is estimated to have fallen by more than 80% in the past 45 years due to habitat loss and hunting.  

Photo: Fota Wildlife Park

The monkeys have a prehensile tail, meaning they can grasp or hold objects with it.

This, along with their spindly limbs, makes them second only to gibbons in their agility up in the treetops.

A benefit of their climbing skills is that they have fewer natural predators than less flexible animals, being difficult to catch from high up in trees.

The monkeys are also known for making loud, whooping calls to communicate and warn each other of danger.  

They mainly eat fruit, leaves and insects, and live for about 25 years in the wild, usually longer in captivity. 

Photo: Fota Wildlife Park