The yellow-tailed woolly monkey was once considered extinct.
The species was first discovered in northern Peru in 1820; however, between 1926 and 1973, not a single yellow-tailed woolly monkey was sighted, causing scientists to deem the animal extinct. Then in 1974 primatologist Russ Mittermeier rediscovered small groups of the monkey in the highlands of Peru. Still, the yellow-tailed woolly monkey is still considered one of the rarest mammals in the world. (Eco-Mothering was able to adopt one! See the video at the end of this post.)
They are named for a distinct yellow stripe of fur.
It runs along the underside of their tails and is what separates them from other species of woolly monkeys. Their fully prehensile tail is used as a fifth limb for climbing, eating and leaping (up to distances of 15 meters).
They are a male-dominated society.
They usually live in groups of 4 to 30 monkeys that include males (one dominant), females and offspring. The omnivorous animal exhibits a charismatic and playful personality: frolicking in the forest canopy and throwing fruit at the heads of poachers. As observed in a 2011 scientific study, the adult mothers spend the least amount of time resting (45% less than males)—a very similar statistic to human adult mothers!
They make a barking sound like a puppy.
The yellow-tailed woolly monkey will “bark” when it is excited or as an alarm call about potential predators. The high-pitched sound can be heard over long distances and may continue for periods of up to 30 minutes.
They only live in the cloud forests of Peru.
The species prefers the tall trees (35-40 meters), the steep ravines, the chilly air… and is unable to adapt to other habitats. The inaccessibility of the yellow-tailed woolly monkey’s habitat is what protected the species for so many years. However, increased human interference (logging, development, hunting) is destroying the South American rain forest, and the Critically Endangered species remains on the edge of extinction. Currently, there are fewer than 250 yellow-tailed woolly monkeys left in the world.
For the Kids: An online coloring page of the yellow-tailed woolly monkey. Color it in, and save it to your computer. And make sure to watch the kid-centric video below!
VIDEO: As rare as they are, we have adopted a yellow-tailed woolly monkey named Eek. Sofie loves him. Eek also happens to be eco-conscious and pretty handy with technology, so we put him to work. Check out the monkey’s first video about the Super Powers of Poop.
Want to help? You can donate to EDGE (Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered), a conservation group focused on protecting species such as the yellow-tailed woolly monkey.