A mixed-up monkey is confusing visitors at ZSL London Zoo after taking a shine to another species’ baby. Maternal Juanita, a golden-headed lion tamarin, has adopted an emperor tamarin baby - much to the surprise of zookeepers.
The surrogate mum, who jumps around the zoo’s Rainforest Life exhibit with the two-month-old baby on her back, started taking an interest in her neighbours’ baby just weeks after it was born. The baby emperor tamarin, who is grey and already sporting the start of an adult’s signature white moustache, was first seen clinging on to Juanita’s fiery orange mane, a month after it was born. Emperor tamarins, native to South America, are usually brought up by their fathers who carry them until they are old enough to fend for themselves.
Senior keeper, Lucy Hawley, said: “At first the father of the emperor tamarin baby was a little nervous about Juanita – but now they all seem to get along just fine. “Juanita has never had a baby before so it seems like her mothering instinct has just kicked in this time around… who knows what animal she’ll be carrying around next.”