Also called the PERUVIAN NIGHT MONKEY, the PERUVIAN OWL MONKEY, or mono lechuza

Common names are not officially defined. They are based on everyday conversational language and may differ by country, region, profession, community, or other factors. As a result, it is not unusual for a species to have more than one common name.

Scientific names are in Latin and they are written in italics. They are standardized and for everyone, no matter what language you may speak. They are bound by a formal naming system, called binominal nomenclature, that has strict rules. Scientific names prevent misidentification. Those names only change if a species, or its genus, is officially redesignated by experts.

Endemic to the Peruvian Andes in the humid and very humid lower montane and montane cloud forests of northeastern Peru.

  • Owl monkey denotes their large eyes and nocturnal lifestyle
  • They are socially monogamous, living in small groups of up to six individuals
  • Their Latin genus name, Aotus, means “without ears,” which, while not true, may seem true at first glance, as their small ears are not immediately visible within the dense fur surrounding their head.
Endangered means that there is a high risk that they could become extinct in the wild.

Threatened by deforestation, habitat disturbance, and hunting. The Andean night monkey population trend has been slowly decreasing for decades as their habitat has become severely fragmented. Peru, like much of the Amazon, has suffered rapid deforestation and clear cutting of its land in the last several decades. High altitude montane forest land was incentivized by the Peruvian government to grow its agriculture economy. The land is perfect for coffee plantations and other various agricultural crops. During a period of economic growth and expansion, the Peruvian government encouraged Peruvians to move into once unpopulated areas to develop agriculture such as coffee plantations. This migration of people into these areas resulted in clear cutting of the forest. This has had a severe impact on the forest, and has made the population of the Peruvian night monkey very fragmented and caused the distribution of Peruvian night monkeys to become restricted to smaller patches of forest. Increased human population into the Peruvian night monkey’s habitat has meant the construction of more roads and major highways, fragmenting the forest even further. 

  1. Night monkeys are wild animals that live in small monogamous family groups in the highest strata of the rainforest. Their diet and environmental needs cannot be adequately met or replicated in human living conditions. 
  2. To become pets, baby primates are stolen from their mothers. As a result, they do not develop normally emotionally.
  3. When taken from the wild, their mothers are killed to capture the baby.
  4. Primates are never domesticated. They always remain wild. 
  5. Caged primates are very unhappy and frustrated. They are likely to resist confinement. They are quick and cause damaging bites and scratches. Some die as a result of their captivity.
  6. Many locations have strict regulations that prohibit trading in or keeping primates and endangered species are pets.
  7. Peruvian night monkeys belong with other night monkeys in the cloud forests of Peru. They and their habitats must be protected, not exploited.

Visit the ANDEAN NIGHT MONKEY Primate Species Profile

 Copyright © New England Primate Conservancy 2019. You may freely use and share these learning activities for educational purposes. 
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