Tuesday, June 2, 2009
The White-faced Saki (Pithecia pithecia), also known as the Guianan Saki and the Golden-faced Saki, is a species of saki monkey, a type of New World monkey, found in Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, and Venezuela. This species lives in the understory and lower canopy of the forest, feeding mostly on fruits, but also eating nuts, seeds, and insects. Sakis are omnivores. They eat fruits, leaves, flowers, insects, and small vertebrates, such as rodents and bats.
Sakis are small-sized monkeys with long, bushy tails. Their furry, rough skin is black, grey or reddish-brown in color depending upon the species. The faces of some species are naked, but their head is hooded with fur. Their bodies are adapted to life in the trees, with strong hind legs allowing them to make far jumps. Sakis reach a length of 30 to 50 cm, with a tail just as long, and weigh up to 2 kg.
Sakis live in family federations, which consist of parents and their offspring, with mated pairs usually forming lifelong pair bonds. They are territorial animals, defending their territory in relation to other families. Sakis know a set of communication possibilities: while shrill cries or bird-like twitter serves as a connection among family members, a loud roar serves to warn other animals off their territory.
Whilst not an endangered species, Sakis and other South American primates are vulnerable due to the destruction of their habitat by humans. They are also hunted for food and for the pet trade.