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Central American Spider Monkey: Ateles geoffroyi yucatanensis
Current population trend: Decreasing and severely fragmented
Belize’s primate populations are being pressured by increasing tropical forest clearance, forest fragmentation and capture of young animals for the illegal wildlife trade. Wildtracks and the Belize Forest Department are collaborating to end the illegal trade in endangered primates in Belize, and ensuring that, where possible, all confiscated animals are returned to the wild, as part of a successful primate reintroduction initiative in the North East Corridor.
In the last five years:
96 primates have entered the Wildtracks Rehabilitation Centre
20 Geoffroy’s spider monkeys have entered the Wildtracks Rehabilitation Centre, forming four cohesive troops, being prepared for release.
Over the last five years, Belize has made great strides in addressing the internal illegal trade in primates. There is increasing national awareness of the legal protection of primates under the Wildlife Protection Act, with fewer illegal pets reported each year. The Primate Rehabilitation Center at Wildtracks accepts all rescued and confiscated primates, ensuring there is no barrier to confiscation in national efforts to end the trade in these two endangered species. It also accepts translocation primates – those marginalized in small forest fragments by increasing forest clearance for agriculture, and those that are pushed into urban areas as adjacent forests are cleared. These short-term residents are returned to safe release sites in the wild as fast as possible.