Photo credit: Sinara Conessa/Creative Commons

Alouatta guariba guariba

As a subspecies of the brown howler monkey (Alouatta guariba), this primate has three parts to its name: the genus, Alouatta, the species, guariba, and the subspecies, guariba

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.

Native to Brazil, northern brown howler monkeys are restricted to an area north of the Jequitinhonha River in the Jequitinhonha Valley. Small populations follow the flow of the river along the country’s central east Atlantic coast, occupying widely separated submontane, montane, and lowland forests in the states of Bahia, Espirito Santo, and Minas Gerais. (The species had previously been reported in Rio de Janeiro.)

  • As few as 250 individuals remain, and probably considerably less, with no more than 50 adult breeding individuals
  • Northern brown howler monkeys are one of the world’s 25 most endangered primate species
  • Large, docile, and slow, they are hunted for bushmeat
  • Along with the southern brown howler monkey (Alouatta guariba clamitans), the northern brown howler is a subspecies of the brown howler monkey (Alouatta guariba) and separated from the southern brown howler by the Jequitinhonha River basin
  • Howlers are among the largest of New World monkeys
  • Howler monkeys are one of nature’s loudest animals
They are at an extremely high risk of becoming extinct in the wild.

Locals have long-hunted these docile and slow-moving monkeys for their flesh, resulting in a devastating toll on populations. The monkeys are thought to be nearly wiped out from the cacao-growing region of southern Bahia.

Habitat loss has further fragmented northern brown howler monkey populations. Lush forest has been lost to logging, agriculture, and cattle grazing . . . nudging the species toward extinction.

​Yellow fever poses a serious threat to all howler populations residing in Brazil’s Atlantic forests. Because of their already dramatically reduced populations, northern brown howler monkeys are especially vulnerable to this potentially deadly disease.

  1. Howler monkeys are LOUD! Their calls are meant to be heard for up to 3 miles (4.8 km).
  2. Northern brown howler monkeys are wild animals. Their dietary and environmental needs cannot be adequately met or replicated in human living conditions. 
  3. Trade in Critically Endangered species is illegal.
  4. To become pets, baby primates are stolen from their mothers. As a result, they do not develop normally emotionally.
  5. When taken from the wild, their mothers are killed to capture the baby.
  6. Primates are never domesticated. They always remain wild. 
  7. 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.
  8. Many locations have strict regulations that prohibit trading in or keeping primates and endangered species are pets.
  9. Northern brown howlers belong with other howler monkeys in the rainforests of Brazil. They and their habitats must be protected, not exploited.

Visit the NORTHERN BROWN HOWLER 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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