The Manduri forest reserve of Sao Paulo state is one of the best places in South America to view the black-horned capuchin monkey, an endangered species native to Brazil’s Atlantic forest biome.
The etymology of these monkeys name has an interesting origin with roots in the early years of the Portuguese colonization of Brazil in the 15th century. When the first explorers encountered these monkeys in the Atlantic forests they caused some amusement as they were thought to resemble the friars of the Franciscan Capuchin order, a familiar sight in the men’s native Portugal. This was due to the bushy cap of hair of the monkeys that resembled the tonsure hairstyle of the monks and the brown coloration of their fur, which matched the color of the cowl garment worn by the order.
Capuchin monkeys are believed by scientists to be the most intelligent species of New World monkeys and are considered by some primatologists to be the most intelligent non-ape primate. Studies have shown that not only do these monkeys use tools to get food, but they also have self-awareness. Capuchin monkeys have even been successfully trained to help disabled people.
The brainy brilliance of these monkeys is evident at the Manduri reserve where large troops can be seen at close quarters interacting and feeding amongst the trees. Certain individual monkeys have even become talented thieves when it comes to stealing food from visitors to the park.
Unfortunately, although these particular groups of black-horned capuchins are safe in the Manduri forest reserve, the conservation status of the species is classified as an endangered species due to massive rates of deforestation. By visiting the reserve you help contribute to the conservation of the species.