Taronga Zoo has a new addition to their Squirrel Monkey family! The tiny male can be seen holding tight to his mother ‘Lena’s’ back as she leaps around the exhibit.
The weeks-old youngster has been named ‘Julio’, and keepers say he and Lena are doing extremely well.
This is the first infant to be born out of the introduction of Taronga’s male, ‘Chico’, to 12 female Squirrel Monkeys from France, last year, through the regional breeding program.
Primate keeper, Suzie Lemon, says, “Lena and baby are doing amazingly well. A lot of the female Squirrel Monkeys have been interacting with the baby, and our two oldest Squirrel Monkeys, ‘Ayaca’ and ‘Squirius’, have been showing a lot of interest by vocalizing at him and rubbing up against him.”
Julio is developing very quickly. “He has already been seen climbing on ropes by himself with all four legs, with just his tail holding onto mum.
“In the next few weeks we’ll see other females start to carry him around and nanny him a bit, then he’ll slowly start to explore on his own,” said Suzie.
The Bolivian Squirrel Monkey is not threatened, however other species of Squirrel Monkey, such as those in Costa Rica and Panama, face threats due to deforestation and fragmentation and the illegal pet trade.