Spider Monkey Rehabilitation Program

One of the most frequently-trafficked animals in the Petén region is the Geoffrey’s Spider Monkey (Ateles geoffroyi). These monkeys are usually captured using the incredibly inhumane method of shooting a nursing mother in the treetops, and, if it survives the fall, plucking the baby from its dead mother.
Spider Monkey Rehab Program

Spider Monkey Rehab Program

Obviously, these baby monkeys come to the Rescue Center in very poor shape; bruised by the fall, in shock from the loss of their mothers, dehydrated and hungry.

They require careful hand-raising to insure that they do not become accustomed to people before they can be incorporated into a troop.

Since 2000, ARCAS has been working with CONAP to strengthen its spider monkey rehabilitation and release program and has developed protocols for their rehabilitation and release. The latest release was conducted in August 2015 in Mirador Rio Azul national park.

First months are spent in quarantine/nursing area and once the monkeys are ready they are formed into troops which they will then be consequently be released in.
Once troupes are formed, they are transferred into progressively larger rehabilitation enclosures on the grounds of the Rescue Center where they can build up their muscles and develop social and maintenance skills.

During all the stages or the rehabilitation process the monkeys are fed wild foods, so that they learn what foods to eat once they are released. Prior to release, medical tests are conducted to ensure the monkeys are healthy and pose no threat to wild populations.

The rehabilitation process finishes with monkeys transferred to a pre release enclosure on the grounds of the Rescue Center. These enclosures are constructed using solar-powered electric fencing to leave an island of trees where monkeys can build up their muscles and learn to forage.

Ethograms are conducted to observe monkeys' behavior to determine whether they are adapting to the wild. Once their behavior is analyzed and results shown that they have appropriate wild behavior, they are fitted with radio collars and released into the MBR, where they are monitored for the following year.

The entire process between the time a baby monkey is brought to the Rescue Center and is released into the wild can take over six years!

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