A female Sulawesi Crested Macaque, born July 21st, is the first macaque birth at Dudley Zoological Gardens, in the UK, in three and a half years!
Some visitors were lucky enough to witness the amazing birth, and shortly afterwards, keen photographer and Dudley Zoological Gardens (DZG) member, Kathryn Willett, snapped a beautiful family portrait of the little one with mum Jasmine and dad Simon.
Dudley Zoo Director, Derek Grove said, “This is a stunning picture of mum, dad and the new baby. It's rare to get good photos of them all together as the mother usually keeps the baby hidden away at first. It just shows how comfortable the macaques are with our visitors, as the birth took place in their wooden shelter, rather than mum moving to a more private area. Some visitors managed to witness the birth itself which is absolutely amazing and we are thrilled with the news."
DZG's Head of Upper Primates, Pat Stevens, added, “The birth was only a couple of days after the due date we’d calculated for Jasmine, and the baby is doing great. It is healthy and clinging on really well to mum.”
Female macaques give birth after a 174 day gestation period, and usually a single offspring is born. Young animals are nursed for one year and become fully mature in three to four years, females sooner than males.
The tiny macaque has been hugely popular at Dudley Zoo, and once keepers discovered her sex, she was given the moniker Summer, in honor of her time of birth.
Summer is now two-and-a-half month’s old and her popularity continues. She is also reaching all the important milestones in her growth and development. Pat Stevens remarked, “She is doing really well and is coming off mum quite a bit now.”
The Sulawesi Crested Macaque (Macaca nigra) is also known as the Celebes Crested Macaque, Crested Black Macaque, or the black ape. It is an Old World monkey that lives in the northeast of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi (Celebes), as well as on smaller neighboring islands. Its face is hairless, and, with the exception of some white hair on the shoulders, the rest of their body is covered in jet-black hair.
The small primate is a diurnal rain forest dweller and is primarily terrestrial. This macaque is frugivorous, with 70% of its diet consisting of fruits, but it also eats leaves, buds, seeds, fungus, birds, eggs, insects, and small lizards or frogs.
They typically live in groups of five to twenty-five. Young adult males are forced to leave the birth group upon maturity, sometimes forming bachelor groups before seeking a connection to an existing adult mixed group. Males and females will mate with multiple partners throughout their lives.
These pink-bottomed, punk-haired monkeys are the most endangered of the seven macaque species, and they are listed as “Critically Endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List. They are hunted as a pest and also for the bush meat trade. Clearing of rainforests also threatens their survival in their native territory.