It’s a birth for the record books at the Memphis Zoo! A male François’ Langur was born to mom, Tanah, and dad, Jay Jay, on April 12.
According to the François’ Langur Species Survival Plan (SSP), the leading authority on the total François’ Langur population, 22-year-old Tanah is the oldest Langur in captivity to give birth. In honor of this record-breaking fact, the new infant has been named Ripley...a nod to the quintessential purveyor of amazing facts: “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!”.
“This is our third François' Langur birth in three years,” said Courtney Janney, Curator of Large Mammals. “These animals live in social groups, and their young are raised communally. Tanah is taking very good care of him, but sisters Jean Grey and Raven spend a lot of time helping out by carrying him around!”
Visitors to the Memphis Zoo’s François’ Langur exhibit will be able to spot little Ripley quite easily. When they’re born, Langur infants are bright orange. As they get older, their orange slowly fades into the black coat that all adults have.
Ripley and his parents are currently on exhibit, along with sisters: Raven, Rook, and Jean Grey.
The François' Langur (Trachypithecus francoisi), also known as the Francois' Leaf Monkey, Tonkin Leaf Monkey, or White Side-burned Black Langur, is a species of lutung belonging to the Colobinae subfamily.
The species is a native of Southwestern China to northeastern Vietnam. The species is named after Auguste François (1857–1935), who was the French Consul at Lungchow in southern China.
The François' Langur is currently classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The population has been on a steady decline for the past 30 years. Of the many factors threatening their survival, hunting has had the largest impact.
The Memphis Zoo has housed François’ Langurs since 2002.