Yellow Fever Taking Heavy Toll on Monkeys in Brazil’s Rainforest
The worst yellow fever outbreak in decades is not just killing Brazilians, it threatens to wipe out monkeys in the Atlantic rainforest that are already close to extinction, experts warned on Tuesday.
So far 400 monkeys have been found dead in the state of Espirito Santo where the fever outbreak has spread from neighbouring Minas Gerais.
At greatest risk is the muriqui monkey, Brazil’s largest primate and one of the planet’s 25 most-endangered species of primates, said biologist Roberto Cabral at the Brazilian environmental agency Ibama.
“The monkeys are vulnerable to yellow fever just like humans but we have vaccines to protect us, they don’t,” Cabral said. “They are being decimated.”
Farmers first alerted authorities about the dying animals when they realized that the forest had gone silent and the monkeys had disappeared.