It’s been a busy week for Belfast Zoo with the birth of two tiny baby monkeys. The new Lion-tailed Macaque and Black and White Colobus Monkey are being looked after well by their mums and the other females in their groups. Sometimes the mothers will even pass the babies off to responsible aunts and older sisters while they go take a break.
On an unrelated-to-anything-scientific note, baby Colobus Monkeys look to us like a cross between a sheep, a bichon and a tiny old man...
Zoo manager Mark Challis is excited about these latest births. “Monkey babies are always very popular and we are delighted to have had a black and white Colobus monkey and a lion-tailed macaque born in the last week. These births are incredibly significant as part of their breeding programmes. The babies will be monitored very closely by keepers and our vet in the next few weeks whilst in their crucial stages of development. When the babies get older, visitors will have a great time watching them play energetically in their enclosures.”
The Colobus monkey baby is bright white, with tightly curled hair. The baby will eventually darken to its adult colouring. The mother will occasionally let the younger females in the Colobus monkey group take the baby from her. This gives younger females experience and allows mum a break. There are around 220 colobus monkeys in zoos around the world.
The lion-tailed macaque baby will take a while to grow its distinct grey mane around its face like the adults. There are less than 2500 macaques living in the wild, and they are one of the rarest primates living in the zoo. Belfast Zoo has a large group of lion-tailed macaques, which is rarely seen in Europe.
You can contribute towards the care of these two ‘cheeky monkeys’ by taking part in the zoo’s adoption scheme. Phone 028 90782085 or visit www.belfastzoo.co.uk/adoption for more information.