The L'Hoest's Monkey family group at Zoo Wrocław is maintained at the level of eight to ten individuals to prevent inbreeding and overcrowding. Over the years they’ve successfully raised ten offspring, mostly females.
The youngest addition to the Zoo’s family came into the world recently---on Christmas Day. The mother is Hermione, and the father is the dominant male, Heos. The sex of the toddler is still unknown, but the caregivers suspect it to be a female.
The L'Hoest's Monkey (Cercopithecus lhoesti) is one of the least common monkeys in zoological gardens in the world. Only 14 zoos have it in their collection. The species is found in the upper eastern Congo basin. They mostly live in mountainous forest areas in small, female-dominated groups.
The species is currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. However, the ongoing military conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (over 20 years already) prevents an accurate estimation of the population size in the wild. In this situation, conservation breeding in zoological gardens becomes a necessity for the survival of the species. Zoo Wrocław plays an important role in the conservation efforts.
“It is believed that the L'Hoest's Monkey’s Red List status of ‘vulnerable’ is not accurate anymore, and the population may be actually close to extinction. Even if the conflict in the Congo is over, it is hard to say what we will find there. Hence, breeding programs in zoos ensure a safe population, which will hopefully make possible the reintroduction of the species to the natural environment in the future,” said Anna Mękarska, specialist in the conservation of species from Zoo Wrocław.