The woolly spider monkey, or muriqui, is one of the most threatened primate species in the world. Because of deforestation in their natural habitat - the Atlantic coastal forests of south-eastern Brazil - the muriquis are confined to less than 3% of their original range. As of 1987, there were only a dozen forest fragments kwn to support a total muriqui population of about 500. As of 1998, at least 20 forests are kwn to support at least 1000 muriquis. This text traces the natural history of the muriqui from its scientific discovery in 1806 to its current, highly endagered status. Karen Strier provides a case study of this scientifically important primate species by balancing field research and ecological issues.
Karen B. Strier is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.