Birth of a yellow-breasted capuchin

A yellow-breasted capuchin (Cebus xanthosternos) was born on May, 17 bringing to 10 the number of individuals living on the island of the monkey house. This is the 12th yellow-breasted capuchin birth recorded at the zoo since its arrival in 2004. The sex of the young is yet unknown: determining the baby’s gender requires being able to observe it closely in the right position, which isn’t easy during the first weeks as the baby spends a lot of time sleeping with its belly pressed against its mother.


 
There are 22 different species of capuchins in the wild. Yellow-breasted capuchins are endemic to the Brazilian Atlantic forest and live in groups from 10 to 30 individuals. Males can exceed 4kg while females are smaller and weigh less than 3.5kg.
 
Their prehensile tail acts like a fifth limb and allows them to free their hands while foraging. But unlike the tail of spider and howler monkeys, capuchins cannot hang by their tail excepting young individuals helped by their lower weight.
 
Although their diet is mostly composed of fruits, capuchins also consume small preys (lizards, insects, birds…) and eggs.


 
The species is severely threatened by habitat loss, as a result of the massive ongoing deforestation throughout its range: about 92% of the original surface of the Brazilian Atlantic forest has already been destroyed. Captures for the illegal pet trade and hunting for food are also serious treats. The yellow-breasted capuchin is among the rarest of the Neotropical primates and is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. Giving this alarming situation, an international breeding program has been developed since 2000 and gathers today more than 170 individuals in European zoos (and more than 60 in Brazil). In order to ensure its survival in the wild, zoos including La Palmyre, fund its conservation in Brazil through the ZGAP association.
 
F. Perroux & M. Caillé