The Tale of the Painted Monkey

In 1975, President James Smith developed the first monthly newsletter called, “The Painted Monkey.” This was based on the fact that art teachers share many characteristics with the painted monkey. Both are highly intelligent, visually literate, colorful, and endangered. The first editor of the newsletter was Barbara Herberholz who held the position for nine years. Originally the logo was representational. However, in 1980 Barbara and her husband, Donald Herberholz, redesigned the logo to what it still is today.

The Painted Monkey is a worthy and honorable selection for the name and the logo of the CAEA newsletter. This symbol represents a rare species of monkeys, the Douc Langur. This beautiful primate lives deep in the southeastern Asian forests and appears as if someone had painted its fur with a white vest, knee-length black pants, and reddish-brown stockings. It is approximately 30 inches long, not counting its tail. The painted monkey is a primate from the Latin primus meaning first in importance. Most primates have large brains and are quite intelligent and certain parts of their brains are well developed, particularly those used in seeing. It would be sad, indeed, if the painted monkeys became extinct.

In 2008, Douc Langurs (pronounced duk LANG-grr) were highly endangered. Over 60 percent of the forest in Vietnam is gone because of the war. Sadly the forests in Cambodia and Laos are also disappearing due to demands for the rain forest, monsoon forest and pine tree forest wood, decreasing the Douc Langur habitats. The forests continue to be cut for commercial purposes and the monkey’s habitats shrink accordingly. They are also hunted for food and oriental medicinal purposes. In Vietnam, laws have protected them since 1992, but conservation in Southeast Asia can be very complicated. Local economics plays an important role and educating the populous about conservation efforts to protect endangered species is not easy. Saving the shrinking rain forest habitat is crucial to saving the Douc Langurs. The forest habitat is vital for their survival, as these leaf-eating monkeys cannot survive outside of their native habitats. When they are sold for pets or to zoos, they do not survive, primarily due to the diet they require.