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As seems to often be the case with animals, little Estela's mother abandoned the heartbreakingly cute spider monkey, the minute she was born, at the Melbourne Zoo on January 17th. Now, the traumatized two-month old, is seeking love from the most unlikely sources - cuddly stuffed animals.
The soft toys have been introduced to Estela by zoo officials, who are really concerned that without the guidance of her mother, this tiny creature that weighed a mere 417 grams at birth, will perish. She now looks to them for comfort not only during the day, but also, at night, when she snuggles up to one, just like she would had have done, with her mother.
The infant spider monkey, which has battled many infections, is not out of the woods yet. While she has put on a little weight, zoo officials fret that she may not survive and are keeping a vigilant eye on her, even at night, when they take turns sleeping alongside her.
Spider monkeys, characterized by their long limbs and tail, are native to the tropical forests of Central and South America - Starting from Mexico, all the way to Brazil. While they primarily eat fruits, they also consume flowers, leaves and even insects. They are social animals, that live in groups and even forage together, which probably explains why little Estela seems to be so miserable. We sure hope the zookeepers and stuffed animals, will be successful in pulling her through this fragile period, so that she can grow into a strong and happy, adult spider monkey.