Creatures of the Amazon
Red Uakari

By Mike Collis

Cacajao calvus rubicundus

These striking Peruvian Amazonian monkeys have a bald heads and red faces, hence the name, although the locals call them "Huapo Colorados". They do not inhabit all of the entire Amazon region, they live only in Peru on a small curve of territory South and West of the Amazon River between Iquitos and west of Pucallpa in permanently or seasonally flooded rainforest. They are not found elsewhere so are considered rare and endangered.

These animals have long creamy brown hairy coats and have relatively short tails. They make their nests in the tallest trees and group together with as many as 100 individuals. During feeding in the day they break up into smaller groups of up to 10 uakaris.

Their diet is mainly fruit but they do supplement this with leaves, plants and some insects.

Uakaris have very strong jaws and can easily break open the shells of Brazil nuts and the like. They mostly feed above ground, but during hard times they will forage on the ground for fallen nuts and look for roots.

These primates mate when food is plenty, and Uakaris mate with partners with the reddest faces, perhaps this is because paler faces might show signs of malaria or some other ailment detrimental to reproduction. Only one baby is born every 2 years. Females cannot reproduce until they are 3 years old and males 6 years old. This means that the population of Uakaris only grows at a very small rate.

These delightful monkeys are on the verge of extinction not only because the local people kill and eat them but because their habitat is being increasingly reduced by logging and oil companies.
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