Conservation status

Both species of Brachyteles, along with the recently recognized genus, Oreonax, are classified as Critically Endangered based on their highly restricted distributions, small population size, and deteriorating habitats. Brachyteles is the only genus of Atelidae endemic to the Brazilian Atlantic forest. The brown howler monkey, Alouatta guariba, is also endemic to the Atlantic forest, and is classified as Vulnerable. The status of Brachyteles hypoxanthus is probably more critical than that of B. arachnoides because the latter still retains relatively large populations in protected forest. Population estimates for Brachyteles hypoxanthus are under 500 individuals, with nearly 200 found in one small reserve in Minas Gerais. Oreonax population size is estimated at fewer than 300 individuals.

A black howler monkey (Alouatta caraya) emits a loud vocalization. (Photo by Rod Williams. Bruce Coleman, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

The female black howler monkey (Alouatta pigra), despite what the name implies, is actually tan in color. (Illustration by Jarrod Erdody)

Three species are classified as Endangered (Alouatta coiben-sis, Ateles marginatus, and A. hybridus) and five species are classified as Vulnerable (Alouattaguariba, Ateles belzebuth, Lagothrix cana, L. lugens, and L. poeppigii). Local populations of several subspecies are also considered to be Endangered or Vulnerable. In all cases, restricted geographic distributions coupled with habitat destruction and hunting pressures contribute to the precariousness of their futures.

The large body size and large group size of atelid make them attractive prey to hunters. In addition to the toll that hunting takes on local populations, many have suffered due to habitat destruction and fragmentation. The construction of roads increases access for hunters and degrades habitats, while the cutting and burning of forest for pasture and agriculture.

Conservation efforts are widespread, and include the establishment of protected parks and reserves as well as legislation that prohibits hunting. However, enforcement of prohibitions is often impeded by insufficient funds. Conservation education efforts and international collaborations be tween habitat countries and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) can be effective, but require long-term commitments at all levels.

0 0

Post a comment