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Amazon Night Monkey Heritage Area
Vista Alegre, Peru

Amazon Night Monkey Heritage Area

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Musmuki Tourism Association is a community-based project from Vista Alegre, Peru, located on the Peru-Colombia border. Vista Alegre is surrounded by diverse Amazonian ecosystems, including flooded forests, lakes and creeks, with species including the Musmuki monkey, as well as pink and tucuxi river dolphins. Musmuki Tourism Association offers low-impact nature activities, all guided by knowledgeable locals (many of whom were previously involved in an illegal trade in Musmuki monkeys for medical research).

Species or habitat details

The Musmuki monkey, also known as Nancy Ma’s night monkey, is endemic to this part of the Amazon, holding a special place in the region’s culture and identity. The local indigenous Tikuna people believe that the monkey is a sacred guardian of the moon, and local communities revere it for its seed dispersal. Through its droppings, the Musmuki monkey helps to regenerate the annually flooded forest floor. It is also sadly one of the most exploited neotropical primates in the world — it’s small size, slow pace, and obvious nesting holes make it an easy target for capture.


The biggest threats faced by Vista Alegre are hunting, deforestation caused by logging, agriculture and the destructive trapping methods use for capturing night monkeys for malaria research. To overcome these threats, the local community have been working with Entropika on the “Aotus project” to develop community-based research, education, and sustainable low-impact tourism initiatives. A hunting ban on Musmuki monkeys has been in place since 2010.

Did you know?

The Musmuki monkey forms couples that last their entire life and live in family groups made up of a couple and their offspring.

After their first week of life, the Musmuki father takes care of the baby and the offspring spends most of its time clinging onto the father’s belly or back. When they can move on their own, the link between the father and the offspring remains very strong.

A Musmuki diet is mainly composed of fruits, which makes them brilliant seed dispersal agents in the forests. This helps maintain biodiversity as they spread seeds from one area to another.

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Why visit a Wildlife Heritage Area?


Visitors to Wildlife Heritage Areas can take part in outstanding wildlife watching experiences that put wildlife first. Staying in a Wildlife Heritage Area helps local communities invest in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, benefitting community well-being and driving forward sustainable practices.

Designated for excellence

Communities achieve Wildlife Heritage Area designation by playing a central role in protecting wild animals and their habitats. With support from responsible travel organisations and wildlife experts, these communities are committed to help turn the tide on biodiversity loss and the climate crisis, adopt a zero tolerance for wildlife suffering in tourism, and advocate for positive change through a willingness to collaborate.


Community group

Community group

Vista Alegre supplied approximately 40% of the night monkeys sold illegally to the FIDIC laboratory in Leticia. The trade had been ongoing for over 25 years. 

In 2009, Entropika started the ‘Aotus project’, carrying out wildlife population assessments using the Aotus (the Latin name for the Musmuki monkey) as the flagship species. In 2010, a hunting ban was introduced to help...

Legal action

Legal action

Entropika, with the collaboration of two green party senators, has led a series of legal actions against authorities and the biomedical facility FIDIC. Since November 2021, Corpoamazonia (the authority responsible for granting permits for the tenure of wildlife in tourism facilities) has been forced to apply fines and sanctions against FIDIC, which conducts malaria research on...

Detrimental effects of using monkeys for research

Detrimental effects of using monkeys for research

Entropika won a legal case against FIDIC and environmental authorities following a campaign to reveal the detrimental effects of using wild monkeys for malaria research on ecosystems, wild populations and indigenous territories. The FIDIC´s research techniques were shown to be obsolete and ineffective as no malaria vaccine has been made available following 40 years of work...