White-Bellied Spider Monkey (Ateles belzebuth)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 0925815
Ateles belzebuth is listed as an endangered species (IUCN, 2009), given that its populations have declined by at least 50% in the last five decades. The species has a wide distribution range, although in Brazil, it is limited to only a few protected areas. The main threats to this species include hunting and habitat loss caused by deforestation.
Temperature increases in Amazonia resulting from global climate change may alter floristic composition, and consequently, fruiting patterns of tropical forests. These changes could alter fruit availability in the forest, ultimately affecting primate populations. Ateles belzebuth is highly frugivorous, feeding largely on ripe fruits of several species and can be considered as an effective seed disperser, highlighting the critical role these primates play in forest maintenance and regeneration.
To meet their nutritional budget requirements, primates make complex decisions involving resource choice and exploitation. However, there are limited knowledge on primate fruit choices in the Neotropics. This study will benefit primate conservation by providing critical information on the feeding ecology and nutritional requirements of an endangered species, Ateles belzebuth. These data could be used to predict how this species may respond to alterations in fruiting patterns as a result of global climate change as well as other floristic and chemical changes in the forest. Documenting fruit availability and use is critical for primate conservation, both to free-ranging or captive individuals. These information could be useful for forest managers and policy makers to help to conserve critical tree species that provide food to A. belzebuth and other concurrent species. Moreover the information could also be used to adequate dietary programs for captive individuals.
Project 0925815 location - Brazil, South America