CITES: Appendix I
(What is CITES?)
IUCN Red List: C. calvus: VU; C. melanocephalus: LC
(What is Red List?)
Key: VU = Vulnerable, LC = Least concern
(Click on species name to see IUCN Red List entry, including detailed status assessment information.)
Cacajao calvus calvus
Photo: Luiz Claudio Marigo
C. melanocephalus and its subspecies are listed as Least Concern; however,
this may be in error and the result of observations of seasonal aggregations of
animals feeding in flooded forests. The status of C. melanocephalus (and C. m.
ouakary) should be reviewed (Adrian Barnett pers. comm.).
Threat: Human-Induced Habitat Loss and Degradation
Logging has detrimental effects on uakaris and their habitat, even if
the desired tree is not favored by uakaris. This is due to collateral
felling of uakari food trees to help float commercial logs to points of
sale, a reduction in selectivity of loggers resulting in food species
being felled, and the alteration of the ecology of plant life in
habitats precipitated by dams created by logged trees (Ayres 1986;
1990). Logging is in fact helped by the seasonal inundation of some
uakari habitats as the water provides an easy way to extract logs by
floating (Ayres 1990). Habitat degradation for agriculture also
threatens uakari habitat as does the clearing of forests for pastureland
(Heymann 1990). Further, the clearing of land for the establishment of
ranches also has the potential to deplete uakari habitat (Barnett & da
Cunha 1991). Illegal gold mining has also caused disturbances in uakari
habitat, even in protected areas (da Cunha & Barnett 1989; Boubli 1994).
One of the ways it does so is by damaging small watercourses by washing
topsoil into them as well as by clearing of vegetation by burning it
(Boubli 1997b). Several species of tree in the diet of the golden-backed uakari
(C. m. ouakary) are also exploited commercially for timber (Barnett 2008).
Threat: Harvesting (hunting/gathering)
Across the genus Cacajao, the degrees of and the purposes for
hunting uakaris are variable. For example, in Brazil, white uakaris
(C. c. calvus) are not typically hunted for food, partially due
to their anthropomorphic, or human-like, appearance. However in Peru, C. calvus is
hunted intensively, for food as well as for skulls for the tourist
souvenir trade (Mittermeier & Coimbra-Filho 1977; Ayres 1986; Bartecki &
Heyman 1987; Aquino 1988). In Venezuela, hunting pressure is likely the
most profound threat to C. melanocephalus, especially by
illegal gold miners for which bushmeat is an important food source
(Barnett & da Cunha 1991; Lehman & Robertson 1994). In addition, miners
sometimes hire indigenous hunters to procure bushmeat (Boubli 1997b).
Sometimes, the large numbers of uakari individuals occurring in one
place make them easy to hunt from a canoe (Defler 2001). Commercial
hunting also threatens uakaris and occurs for the procurement of animal
protein in the diets of some communities (Heymann 1990; Barnett & da
Cunha 1991). Uakaris are also hunted for use as bait, particularly for
fish, turtle, or cats, and even in areas where they are not hunted for
food (Mittermeier & Coimbra-Filho 1977; Barnett & da Cunha 1991). While
in some areas, hunting has formerly focused on the largest primates for
food, depletion of those populations can cause an increase in hunting of
somewhat smaller primates including uakaris who had been previously
unaffected (Ward & Chism 2003).
Uakaris are also collected as pets, often as infants when their mothers
are killed and sometimes specifically for this purpose (Aquino 1988;
Ward & Chism 2003).
Mercury, a byproduct of illegal mining sometimes makes its way into
watercourses within uakari habitats and has the potential to adversely
affect the health of the species (Lehman & Robertson 1994).
Threat: Intrinsic Factors
Bald uakaris have one of the highest rates of malarial infection in Amazonian
primates. This infection rate might be attributable to their large
group size and has the potential to have detrimental effects on their
health (Davies et al. 1991).
LINKS TO MORE ABOUT CONSERVATION
ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED IN Cacajao CONSERVATION
Content last modified: July 21, 2008
Written by Kurt Gron. Reviewed by Adrian Barnett.
Cite this page as:
Gron KJ. 2008 July 21. Primate Factsheets: Uakari (Cacajao) Conservation . <http://pin.primate.wisc.edu/factsheets/entry/uakari/cons>. Accessed 2017 February 26.