The common woolly monkey, Lagothrix lagotricha, is a primate from the Atelidae family which lives in the South American rainforests. It is covered in soft, thick curly hair, apart from the underside of its tail, so making it fully prehensile.
This species has a flexible social structure. Males and females of all ages gather together in troops of 18 – 45 individuals, composed of several family units.
Common woolly monkeys have a prehensile tail like spider monkeys and capuchins. They can use it like a fifth hand.
This monkey uses a specific type of olfactory communication: it licks the ground and rubs its chest and anal glands on the same spot. The scents they leave play a role in breeding, the marking of territory by the males and the signalling of their status.
The common woolly monkey is killed for its meat and captured to supply a parallel market for pets. For every young monkey sold, ten adult females will have been killed. With a low reproductive rate (one baby every two years), this species is struggling to cope with these threats as well as the changes which farming is inflicting on its habitat.
Conservation programme: To protect this endangered species, the Parc Zoologique de Paris participates in the European Endangered Species programme and has links with South American associations to support in situ conservation projects.