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Yellow-tailed woolly monkey
Oreonax flavicauda


CITES: Appendix I (What is CITES?)
IUCN Red List: O. flavicauda: CR (What is Red List?)
Key: CR = Critically endangered
(Click on species name to see IUCN Red List entry, including detailed status assessment information.)

O. flavicauda
Photo: Noga Shanee

The yellow-tailed woolly monkey is one of the World's 25 Most Endangered Primates (Cornejo et al. 2009; Mittermeier et al. 2009). Until the middle of the 20th Century, most of the yellow-tailed woolly monkey's habitat was largely inaccessible. Since then, road building to increase human habitation of their region of occurrence has increased threats to the species (Leo Luna 1982; 1987). Large-scale immigration started during unrest in the 1970s and 1980s, and the influx continues today (Shanee et al. 2008; DeLuycker 2007). There are no up-to-date population estimates but its total area of potential suitable habitat is under 8,000 km² and is declining and largely fragmented (Cornejo et al. 2009). The species is known to exist in several protected areas, but even these areas are being illegally logged and hunted, with a lack of law enforcement, and have increasing human populations (Cornejo et al. 2009). Further, the low birth rate exacerbates these threats because populations are slow to recover, particularly from hunting (Leo Luna 1980; 1987). Other aspects of its ecology that increase the susceptibility of the species include its low density and limited range of occurrence (Leo Luna 1987).


Threat: Human-Induced Habitat Loss and Degradation

The primary threat to the yellow-tailed woolly monkey is habitat loss or fragmentation through clear-cutting or selective logging of its forest habitat (Leo Luna 1982; 1987; Butchart et al. 1995; DeLuycker 2007; Cornejo et al. 2009). Deforestation is intensified and increased by continuing human immigration into suitable habitats (DeLuycker 2007; Shanee et al. 2007a). Areas are cleared for various types of agriculture, including coca cultivation and coffee cultivation, but also for timber, mining, road construction, and cattle husbandry (DeLuycker 2007; Shanee et al. 2008). Soils are poor, and quickly erode, necessitating further clearance (Shanee et al. 2008). Such destruction is often illegal and sometimes occurs in protected areas (DeLuycker 2007).

Threat: Harvesting (hunting/gathering)

Hunting is another major threat to the survival of the species (Leo Luna 1987; Shanee et al. 2007a). Yellow-tailed woolly monkeys are often hunted for food and trade, for both indigenous and immigrant subsistence (Parker & Barkley 1981; Leo Luna 1987; Shanee et al. 2007a). They are easily hunted due to their large size and their loud and obvious responses to intruders, making them easy to find for hunters (Butchart et al. 1995; DeLuycker 2007). Mothers are sometimes shot to procure their infants as pets (DeLuycker 2007). These infants are either kept or sold for approximately 10-70 US dollars (Shanee et al. 2007a).





Content last modified: September 30, 2010

Written by Kurt Gron.

Cite this page as:
Gron KJ. 2010 September 30. Primate Factsheets: Yellow-tailed woolly monkey (Oreonax flavicauda) Conservation . <>. Accessed 2020 July 6.