Erakina

New World Monkey’s Uakari – Erakina

Published Date : February 3, 2022

Hairless face Uakari

Long fur red face Uakari

  • Uakari is a short-tailed monkey with a bald head, found in the Amazon rainforest and they are native to the tropical rainforests in South America. 
  • It is the common name for the New World Monkeys of the genus Cacajao.
  • The English and scientific names are believed to have originated from the indigenous language. The name is pronounced as “wakari”. 
  • Uakaris have a bald and striking red colour that separates them from other monkeys. The colour strength categorizes Uakari into 4 species. They are:
  1. The Red (bald) Uakari
  2. The Black Headed Uakari
  3. The Ayres Black Uakari
  4. The Neblina Uakari

Uakari’s Anatomy and Habitat

Uakari’s anatomy and habitat differ them from other species of monkeys.

Close up image of red face Uakari

Red face Uakari with long and coarse fur

  • Uakari is a small-sized primate having 45cm in length and weighing around 3kg. Their tail is very short compared to other South American monkey species.
  • The fur that covers their body is long and coarse of varied colours like red, brown, etc. The colour changes depending on the species they belong to.
  • The hairless face is the most distinctive feature of Uakari. Although the common colour of the face is red, science has found Uakaris with lighter colours and black. Their extremely separated nostrils bring a funny-looking appearance. 
  • Monkeys use tails to hold onto tree branches. However, since Uakari’s tails are very short, their needs with tails are limited.
  • The flexible and strong hands and feet of Uakari enable them to hold onto tree branches. Their moving from one tree to another becomes easy with the physical advantages.
  • They are mostly seen in the Amazon River Basin, throughout Brazil and Peru, and in parts of Southern Columbia. 
  • Uakaris are very fond of nature and prefer being in Jungle that fringe freshwater sources such as streams, small rivers, and lakes. The wet areas with seasonal flooding are the best choices for Uakari to continue life. 

Uakari Reproduction and Lifestyle

Baby red face Uakari

Baby Uakari in the floor of forest

  • Uakari’s reproductive months are between October to May. Baby Uakari is incredibly small and vulnerable at birth. They cling to their mother in the first few months feeding only her milk. When they reach four months, the baby Uakari begins to forage with the troop for soft fruits and seed pods.
  • The female Uakari can breed only when they reach three years old whereas male Uakari can only begin reproduction at the age of six. They have 20 years of living time in the wild.  
  • They follow an omnivorous diet. Uakari consumes a combination of both plant material and small animals by playing a vital role in its native ecosystem through the spreading of seeds in the forest.
  • Their diet plan highly appreciates fruits and leaves from the surrounding trees and insects to get the energy to live.
  • Uakari mostly get the needed food from the high up in the canopy but are ready to land on the forest floor for seeds, roots, and lizards when food is scarce in trees.

Uakari Threats

  • They have few predators as they are always high up in the forest canopy.
  • Birds of Prey close to the upper tree part are their biggest predator. Other tree-dwelling species such as snakes and larger monkeys also attack young Uakari.
  • Uakari is mainly hunted by the natives for food. Over the years, studies suggest that the number of Uakari has been cut in half. 
  • The rainforest in which they live faces an environmental threat. The trees are being cut down for the timber industry and commercial success. As a result, the forest strength is decreasing day by day either for commercial purposes or to expand human settlement.

Some More Interesting and Genetic Features of Uakari

Black headed Ukarai

Black-headed Uakari looking on the tree branch

  • The Uakari can jump up to 20 meters from tree to tree. They will win in a jumping competition.
  • Studies show that the colour on the face denotes their internal health. The female Uakari selects partners based on the brightness of the colour. The pale colour is a hint that the Uakari isn’t healthy enough.
  • The Uakari kept in captivity have paler colours than they would have in the wild.
  • The Uakari are hunted by native people for food or to keep them as pets or to sell for money.
  • The Uakari are listed out as vulnerable as their lives are under threat. They are now found in smaller and more isolated pockets of their natural habitat.

By Sujitha K.S

07-12-2021

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