The barbecued leg of a spider monkey might not be your idea of a sumptuous dinner, but to the Matsés or one of the fifteen tribes in voluntary isolation in Peru, it is the result of a successful hunt and a proud moment for the hunter’s family. However, a spider monkey tends to have only a single infant once a year, which necessarily limits the number of adult monkeys available to subsistence hunters. 

If hunting is to be sustainable, a delicate balance must be maintained between a monkey’s ability to replace those that are hunted, and a hunter’s ability to selectively extract monkeys for food. Unfortunately, this fragile connection has been repeatedly shattered across Amazonia: in these areas, it is the diminutive monkeys, like the squirrel-sized tamarin, that now dominate the Amazonian landscape, creating cascading disadvantages for forest growth and regeneration.