On Thursday, April 6, the Nashville Zoo will introduce to the public two endangered Mexican spider monkeys: Poppy and Sandy. It will be the first time in four years the zoo has hosted monkeys.
These black haired primates, age 6 and 7, will spend their days swinging between tall trees in an exhibit that resembles their natural habitat: the rainforest. It's sandwiched between the porcupine and cougar exhibits.
Primate keeper Jessica James says the goal of the new exhibit is to show why this species is critical to the survival of the rainforest.
"Spider monkeys are really important seed distributors in their ecosystem, and if there's not those important seed distributors, then plants ... won't be able to survive," she says.
Monkeys tend to be crowd-pleasers, which the Nashville Zoo could use: It lacks giant pandas, lions and elephants.
But the zoo is in the middle of a big expansion. By the end of this year, it will add white rhinos, Andean bears and Sumatran tigers.