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What are the Different Types of Endangered Monkeys?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated Mar 05, 2024
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There are literally dozens of types of endangered monkeys, although many of them are not well known by the general population. Of the approximately 264 species of monkeys found in the wild today, about 52 are labeled as endangered or critically endangered on the Worldwide Endangered Species List. In order to be endangered, an animal must be dwindling in numbers rapidly enough to threaten extinction.

The main reason for so many types of endangered monkeys being listed is that hunters sometimes trap and kill these species for their meat or fur. In addition, many of their habitats are being destroyed by a growing human population. Although these practices have been outlawed in many areas because these animals are considered in danger of extinction, hunting and expansion still continue in other parts of the world. Other monkeys are endangered because of illness, as certain types are especially prone to viruses and other infections.

One of the types of endangered monkeys is the Long-haired Spider Monkey. This is one of many classes of spider monkey that is on the endangered species list. The Long-haired Spider Monkey has slender arms and legs and a long tail which is used for climbing and balancing in trees. The main threats to its habitat are the destruction of the forests and hunting for its meat. Other types of endangered monkeys are the Red-handed Howler Monkey, Sclater's Guenon, Muriqui, Ollala Brothers' Titi Monkey, and the Black Squirrel Monkey.

The Red Handed Howler Monkey is native to Brazil and is a type of New World Monkey, which means it has a hairy face, long tail, and wide-set nostrils. The mariqui, also known as the Black Headed Spider Monkey, is also from Brazil. The Sclater's Guenon is a type of Old World Monkey, meaning it is characterized by close-set nostrils and a more defined opposable thumb, much like that of a human. Ollala Brother's Titi Monkey is another type of monkey that is one of the most endangered because it does not inhabit protected land.

The main ways in which the World Wildlife Federation is attempting to save the many types of endangered monkeys are by protecting their habitats through laws and through education. Since many of these species are not known by the most people, it is important to support their survival through teaching others about them. By connecting with the animals and learning how extraordinary each creature is, people are more likely to help save their habitats through funding to support research and breeding animals in captivity.

Many of the types of endangered monkeys are being bred in captivity in an attempt by wildlife conservationists to get their numbers back into a safe range. Some of these animals may be able to be returned to the wild, although many will have to spend their lives in zoos and sanctuaries for endangered primates. In the case of zoos, this also allows the general public to learn more about rare and mostly unknown species of monkey.

Frequently Asked Questions

What factors contribute to monkeys becoming endangered?

Monkeys become endangered primarily due to habitat loss from deforestation, illegal wildlife trade, and hunting for bushmeat. Climate change also affects their habitats and food sources. Conservation efforts are crucial to mitigate these threats and protect monkey populations.

Which species of monkeys are currently the most endangered?

The most endangered monkey species include the Hainan gibbon, with fewer than 30 individuals remaining, and the Sumatran orangutan, with an estimated population of less than 14,000. Both are critically endangered due to habitat destruction and poaching, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

How does the loss of monkey species affect ecosystems?

Monkeys play a vital role in ecosystems as seed dispersers and as part of the food chain. Their loss can lead to reduced genetic diversity in forests and imbalances in the ecosystem, which can have cascading effects on other species and the health of the environment.

What conservation efforts are in place to protect endangered monkeys?

Conservation efforts include habitat protection, anti-poaching patrols, and legal enforcement against wildlife trade. Organizations also engage in reforestation projects and community education to promote coexistence. International collaborations, such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), regulate trade to protect endangered species.

Can captive breeding programs help save endangered monkey species?

Captive breeding programs can be instrumental in saving endangered monkey species by increasing population numbers and genetic diversity. These programs often aim to reintroduce individuals into the wild, bolstering wild populations and enhancing their chances of survival.

How can individuals contribute to the conservation of endangered monkeys?

Individuals can contribute by supporting conservation organizations, adopting sustainable living practices to reduce habitat destruction, and avoiding products that contribute to deforestation. Educating oneself and others about the plight of endangered monkeys and advocating for their protection are also powerful ways to help.

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Discussion Comments

By Ana1234 — On Oct 16, 2014

@irontoenails - Actually I don't think monkeys are what they call keystone species very often. Those are usually either quite low on the food chain or at the very top, like wolves.

I think what makes monkeys particularly compelling out of all the animals currently endangered, is that they are so much like us. If we can't muster the compassion and resources it takes to save creatures that are essentially tiny, adorable versions of ourselves, I'm not sure we can do it for any other species.

By irontoenail — On Oct 15, 2014

@umbra21 - There's even more to it than that. Monkeys tend to be vital to ecosystems, because of the way they interact with it. They spread seed and feed predators and so forth. When one species disappears its like taking a single support from a building. If it isn't the most crucial support, the building won't fall, but it will become weaker.

Take enough non-crucial supports and it will eventually fall. Endangered monkeys could take a whole lot of other creatures and plants with them if they go extinct, and if they are a crucial enough part of the ecosystem they could take the whole thing.

By umbra21 — On Oct 14, 2014

I really think people need to realize that it's the selfish thing to do to preserve endangered animals, particularly monkeys, as they are so closely related to us. There are all kinds of things we can learn from them that would directly benefit humankind.

I mean, I also think we should preserve them for their own sake, because they are beautiful and unique and I don't want the Earth to end up without them on it, but if selfish reasons are what can get people to help, then there are plenty of those as well.

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