Mexican canyon serves as key refuge for endangered spider monkeys
June 9, 2008
A picturesque canyon in Chiapas, Mexico is serving as an important refuge for the northernmost population of Spider monkeys, reports a study published in the June issue of Tropical Conservation Science.
Surveying Sumidero Canyon National Park in central Chiapas — a place where dextrous spider monkeys are commonly seen scaling the sheer walls of the canyon to move between forest fragments — researchers from the Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chipas and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México conclude the reserve is an important conservation zone for the endangered spider monkey. The study estimates the rainforest fragments of the canyon support 1.8 spider monkeys per kilometer of river.
“Habitat loss caused by human activity, hunting and the pet trade have caused significant reductions in the original distribution of the charismatic spider monkeys in Mexico and Central and South America,” the authors told mongabay.com. “Regional conservation initiatives by all Latin America countries have resulted in the creation of systems of natural protected areas. While these areas protect important segments of the local and regional biodiversity, little is known about the presence of spider monkeys in some of these conservation areas.”
“Our research suggests that the Sumidero Canyon National Park is an important conservation area for the endangered spider monkey in this part of Mesoamerica.”
David Muñóz, Alejandro Estrada and Yasminda García del Valle (2008). Survey and conservation of a relict population of spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) in the Sumidero Canyon, Mexico. Tropical Conservation Science Vol. 1(2): 151-162, 2008