A rare François’ Langur born in late 2017 has finally made his first appearance for visitors at Belfast Zoo.
This endangered primate was born on November 7, 2017 to mom, Nicoleen and dad, AJ, but spent most of his time clinging tightly to Nicoleen’s belly until just recently.
While adult François’ Langurs are black in color with striking white sideburns, infants are born with ginger fur and their color changes slowly as they mature. The baby has been named Huaidan, which means ‘rascal’ in Chinese, thanks to his cheeky attitude.
Huaidan’s arrival means that Belfast Zoo’s Monkey House is home to five of these leaf-eating primates. François’ Langurs live in small family groups consisting of one adult male and a harem of adult females and their offspring. All females in the group take an active interest in the care of an infant. This allows Nicoleen to rest and eat while the other females babysit Huaidan.
Andrew Hope, Curator at Belfast Zoo, said, “François’ Langurs are found in the tropical forests and limestone hills of China, Vietnam and Laos but they are facing increasing threats and are endangered in their natural habitat. This is primarily due to habitat loss, hunting, the traditional medicine trade and the pet trade.”
The wild population of François’ Langurs has declined by at least 50% over the past three decades. Scientists estimate that the total wild population is less than 2,500 individuals.
Belfast Zoo works with others zoos around Europe to ensure the survival of François’ Langurs through an active breeding program. Huaidan’s arrival is important to the genetic diversity of the European population of this primate, which is listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).