A SPIDER MONKEY
Hiking out of PetÚn Tucha, as I passed through a tunnel cut through the mangrove suddenly I was surprised by a loud whistle-like shriek that trailed off into a series of mammalian HOO-HOO-HOO-HOOs. I looked in vain for the hoo-er but the vegetation was as dense as a mangrove swamp can be.
My local naturalist friends and I agree that I probably had heard a Spider Monkey, ATELES GEOFFROY. There's no reason why I shouldn't have heard one since they are known to hang out around PetÚn Tucha, plus there just are no other animals here that go around HOO-HOO-HOO-HOOing. About 60 air-miles southwest of here a number of Maya families at Punta Laguna escort paying visitors to see their resident Spider Monkeys. Spider Monkeys used to be much more common here than now but they've suffered greatly from habitat destruction, being captured for the pet trade, and being hunted for food. You can see one here.
Originally we had two monkey species in the Yucatan, the other being the Howler Monkey, Alouata palliata. Now the Howlers seem to be extirpated from the northern region. Farther south in Guatemala's PetÚn region and in the Mexican state of Chiapas I've often seen them and frequently heard them roar majestically and blood- curdlingly like lions.
Spider Monkeys appear to be more tolerant to habitat disruption than Howlers, and the Spiders don't call attention to themselves by roaring. Still, as with the howlers, the species is regarded as threatened with extinction.