The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium started off the new year with a pair of bright orange babies: Two Silvered Leaf Langurs were born December 1 and January 11, with the latest being the zoo’s first birth of the new year.
These births also mark the Columbus Zoo’s first Langur babies since 2011, and the first time two infants were born in a troop since 2010.
Langurs, which have black fur with silvered tips as adults, are born with bright orange fur. This marked difference in coat color is believed to encourage other female Langurs to assist in raising the young, a practice called allomothering.
The births are also important for the breeding recommendations outlined by the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to manage threatened or endangered species. Silvered Leaf Langurs are listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to population declines caused by habitat loss. These two babies will help to sustain the langur population among AZA-accredited zoos.
Patty, age 16, gave birth December 1 to her fifth offspring, who has since been determined to be a girl. Gumby, age 14, gave birth to her sixth offspring, the gender of which has not yet been determined, on January 11. Both mothers mated with Thai, who is 4.5 years old, and are experienced caregivers.
Neither baby has been named yet. Young Langurs begin to sit and walk on their own after about two weeks. The babies’ orange fur will gradually be replaced by silvery fur by the time they are six months old. The older of the two babies is already showing signs of graying in her face, hands, and tail.
The range of the Silvered Leaf Langur includes Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Wild populations are losing their habitats as lands are cleared for oil palm plantations or destroyed by forest fires. Langurs are also hunted for their meat or captured to serve as pets.
See more photos of the babies below.