Melbourne Zoo Celebrates Birth of Precious Spider Monkey

31 August 2020

Melbourne Zoo is celebrating the birth of an incredibly sweet spider monkey, with its arrival a boost to Zoo-based conservation efforts for the endangered species.

The tiny Black-handed Spider Monkey was born on August 5th.

Melbourne Zoo Primates Life Sciences Manager Harna Burton said mum Isobella gave birth naturally, surrounded by the rest of the Zoo's spider monkey troop, including big sister Elena who was born at the Zoo in 2018.

"The baby is doing really well," Ms Burton said. "It is sleeping on mum Isobella nice and snugly in her fur, holding on tightly and feeding well.

"Isobella appears really comfortable and is doing all the right things."

Because Isobella is holding the baby so closely, keepers have not yet determined the sex of the baby and it doesn't have a name yet.

"The rest of the Spider Monkey troop are also doing well and there is a sense of calmness in the group," Ms Burton said.

"Dad Oren is being quite attentive and is also keeping close to mum Isobella."

Black-handed Spider Monkeys are native to Central and South America and are classified as endangered in the wild by the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List. Wild populations are threatened by habitat loss as their forest homes are cleared by logging and agriculture.

The new baby is the sixth member of Melbourne Zoo Black-handed Spider Monkey troop, which includes its mother Isobella, father Oren and older sibling Elena as well the closed-bonded Estela and Maya.

While Melbourne Zoo is temporarily closed to members and visitors, animal lovers at home can stay connected with the Zoo's animals through the Zoos Victoria live stream cameras at www.zoo.org.au/animals-at-home