Howlers happy together!

We are happy to announce that our three red howler monkeys are now living peacefully together! Niamh, Seamus, and Emuya are eating and sleeping cosily side by side.

It is the third time we tried to introduce our three red howler monkeys. Previous attempts failed because adult female Niamh was intimidating the young female Emuya and got very protective over the other youngster, Seamus (who appears to be a female too by the way).

So twice we had to separate Niamh again. We did so with pain in our hearts because Niamh was living by herself for such a long time before we received another howler monkey, and we know she does not do well living alone. It depresses her which causes physical decline.

Video

Though still not 100 percent fit, Niamh is now recovering well in the main enclosure and enjoying foraging for fresh leaves alongside Seamus and Emuya. Click here to see the video of them all together! Niamh is also gradually starting to use her tail more often again and does not show any aggression towards Emuya.

In the meantime, Seamus and Emuya are growing steadily and look stunning. They are playful, active, and a little bit naughty. But all of them show almost perfect natural behaviour, staying up high in the secluded enclosure, foraging, and preferring the fresh leaves we offer them three times a day over additional fruit and vegetables.

Future

In that light, a future (soft) release looks promising. Another requirement would be that they form a coherent group that sticks together and look out for each other. The Merazonia reserve is well within their home range, and we have several reports of neighbours hearing the impressive howls of wild howler monkeys in the distance, deep in the forest.

Ideally, the group would add a couple of additional members to it, with a strong male as a leader. But to our knowledge the only three red howler monkeys successfully kept in captivity in Ecuador already live at Merazonia.

Specialist care

On the few occasions we have heard of a confiscated howler monkey somewhere in Ecuador, we were often too late to reach them and they had already died. Red howler monkeys are extremely delicate monkeys with very specific dietary needs and usually do not survive long in captivity without the necessary specialist care.

So if you know of, or hear about, a red howler monkey in Ecuador held in captivity, let us know straight away and we will be speeding our way there to rescue it and hopefully introduce it to our existing group with the prospect of being released into the jungle again in the future.

A big Thank You! goes out to the volunteers that helped us over the years with the day to day care of our red howler monkeys, spending hours collecting the right leaves for them, come rain or shine. It is a lot of work, but their dedication is vital to our howlers’ survival and happiness!