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Tufted capuchin
Cebus apella

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CITES: Appendix II (What is CITES?)
IUCN Red List: C. apella: LC (What is Red List?)
Key: LC = Least concern
(Click on species name to see IUCN Red List entry, including detailed status assessment information.)

Cebus apella
Photo: Roy Fontaine

Luckily, due to widespread occurrence, the tufted capuchin still maintains an extensive distribution and habitat. As with other primates, the biggest threat to the tufted capuchin is habitat loss and fragmentation. It is estimated that more than a fifth of the entire Amazonian forest, the habitat of the tufted capuchin, has been destroyed (Fragaszy et al. 2004). Reasons for destruction of the forest are varied, but include logging, agriculture and flooding for hydroelectric power generation (Fragaszy et al. 2004). It is estimated that the minimum contiguous forest area required to sustain a group of tufted capuchins is around 100 ha but ideally the minimum is 1000 ha (Gilbert & Setz 2001). This area is likely larger in poorer soil areas of the central Amazon and the minimum required habitat size in the central Amazonian terra firma forests is likely around 23000 ha (Spironello 2001). Recently, infrastructure development and road building plans in the Amazon have further expanded the potential for deforestation in some areas of the tufted capuchin range as access will increase and economic development will expand (da Silva et al. 2005). A regional system of protected areas is needed in Amazonia if unfettered development is to be checked (da Silva et al. 2005).

The Margarita Island tufted capuchin, in addition to facing the same threats as the mainland populations, has far fewer numbers and is critically endangered. Recently, an additional threat to its numbers has been identified in escaped or released pet wedge-capped capuchins (Cebus olivaceus) which have the potential to establish feral populations which compete for the same resources as the tufted capuchins (Martinez et al. 2000).


Threat: Harvesting (hunting/gathering)

Hunting for food and as a crop pest of the tufted capuchin is also a significant threat to its numbers. Fragmentation of tufted capuchin habitat also serves to bring the species into further contact with people causing crop-raiding conflict as well as facilitating hunting access (Fragaszy et al. 2004). In one instance, a village of indigenous Brazilians killed and consumed over two hundred tufted capuchins in under a year (Nascimento & Peres cited in Chapman & Peres 2001).





Content last modified: April 17, 2009

Written by Kurt Gron. Reviewed by Gary Linn.

Cite this page as:
Gron KJ. 2009 April 17. Primate Factsheets: Tufted capuchin (Cebus apella) Conservation . <>. Accessed 2019 January 20.