Though it is not at all rare in its native Northeastern South America, this startling-looking monkey has always been very rare in zoos. It had a reputation for being delicate in captivity, but since their arrival in Dallas in 2010, the ones at the DWA have proved robust, and have already produced offspring. They differ from White-faced sakis (whose tails usually hang straight down) by the continuous motion of their remarkably squirrel-like tails.
Before the 1970s, this Northern South American monkey was very rare in captivity, but an improved understanding of its diet and health have led to this species being bred frequently, so that it is now one of the most widely-kept New World primates in American zoos. This is one of a relatively small number of primates where the sexes are easily told by their color; males are black with white faces, while females are grayish with a whitish line on either side of the muzzle.