Endangered animal species

Conservation area for the brown-headed spider and the Ecuadorian capuchin monkey

The brown-headed spider monkey (Ateles fusciceps fusciceps) and the Ecuadorian capuchin monkey (Cebus aequatorialis) are listed as Critically Endangered on the 2019 IUCN Red List. Both species are considered as the most endangered primates in Ecuador. Furthermore, the brown-headed spider monkey has been ranked several times among the most imperiled primates in the world, given that its population has been decreasing at a constant rate in such a way that currently only 250 individuals are suspected to remain. The Ecuadorian capuchin monkey will make its first-ever appearance in the tenth iteration of the world’s 25 most endangered primates list. Both are endangered due to the destruction of their habitat, the Ecuadorian Chocó, which is considered one of the most threatened areas on Earth (only 2% of its original forest cover remains).

The aim of this project, implemented by Proyecto Washu / Fundación Naturaleza y Arte, is to support the creation of the first protected area for the recently found populations of brown-headed spider monkey and Ecuadorian capuchin monkey in northwestern Manabí, Ecuador.

Land cover vegetation will be classified using remote sensing imagery. 10 forest fragments will be selected for ground truthing field verification and pilot vegetation assessments. The presence/absence of both primate species in remnant forests will be evaluated using the playback or transect methods especially the population of the brown-headed spider monkey in the Rio de Oro forest fragment, one of the last strongholds for the species. Habitat suitability model will be performed to identify prospective corridors connecting brown-headed spider monkey populations from different forest fragments. Simultaneously, participatory forums with villagers will be performed in the Rio de Oro forest fragment as well as educational talks in rural schools. Finally, the NGO will contribute to the implementation of the Ecuadorian primate conservation action plan.

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