Yasuní National Park
Planet of the Apes
Monkeys are a highlight at the zoo. Even if their lack of etiquette or uncleanly behavior strikes you as disturbing, you can’t but stand in awe at their intelligence, their amazing agility, their close resemblance to Man as they scratch their heads and clean each other’s backs. At Napo Wildlife Center there are a recorded 11 species that range from the smallest in the world to the scariest!
They roam Amazonian jungles in absolute freedom and since the Añangu community has purposefully prohibited hunting "on premises", it is not uncommon to find many of the eleven species during a regular stay. Capuchins and Squirrel Monkeys are probably the most boisterous and common, quickly moving through the forest in large groups, many times together. Troops of Squirrel Monkeys can be 70 to 100 strong! The long-limbed Spider Monkey tends to hang around on its own, at most with a partner. Spider Monkeys are probably the most Tarzanesque of the bunch: acrobatic, hanging from lianas with full control of their tails as they move from tree to tree. The beautiful Golden-mantled Tamarin, iconic at Napo Wildlife Center, can’t do much with its tail… for some it shares a closer resemblance to a cat than a monkey. But it is a monkey and can be spotted in small groups, maybe even a family.
Out of the rarer species, we have the Titi Monkeys which usually rests by day in a tree hole, since they are up and about at night. Another nighttime marauder (the best is to find it during the day) is the Night Monkey. With its bulging eyes, small face, it is somewhat reminiscent of a lemur. The pair of “saki” species are like small-scale Yetis, not because of their coloration (they are dark), but because of their bushy hair and unique angry face. Woolly Monkeys, quite rare, are among the largest monkeys, with tight-knit chestnut-colored fur.
The smallest monkey? Pygmy Marmoset. He fits on the palm of your hand. You can find him along rivers, hurriedly climbing up tree trunks. It could easily be up for the cutest animal in the world.
The scariest? That would be the Howler Monkey. Not because of its appearance, but because of its freakishly sinister howl, an invaluable tool for sound editors at horror film production companies: a mix between a dinosaur's roar and the rumbling of an erupting volcano.
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