Play is a fundamental component of social learning in primates.
Among other things, it allows the development of motor, neurological and cognitive abilities. It also promotes the acquisition of certain behaviors.
The baby chimp seen here at Zoo Palmyre is 14-months old and playing with a 19-year old male.
The Great Ape childhood, spanning across the first 4 years, is a time of play and discovery. Far from being futile, long solo or group fun sessions lay the foundation for the rules of dominance in adulthood and social integration of the individual in his group.
La Palmyre Zoo’s female Cotton-top Tamarin recently gave birth to twins. This is the first birth for the Zoo’s breeding pair, which was created one year ago. The babies are now four-weeks old and are doing very well.
Photo Credits: La Palmyre Zoo /Florence Perroux
Cotton-top Tamarins are easily recognizable by the crest of white hair around their head. They usually live in small groups composed of 10 to 15 individuals and spend their day foraging for food. They mainly eat fruits, except during the dry season when fruits are scarcer. During dry seasons, they eat gum, nectar, and insects.
Cotton-top Tamarins are able to produce 40 different vocalizations that are used for delimiting their territory, indicate food or predators.
With Tamarins and Marmosets, all the group members take care of the offspring: the mother breastfeeds her babies but the father and the other individuals carry them when they are not suckling. This cooperation offers advantages: the non-mature individuals practice their future parental skills, and the male reinforces its privileged access and relationships with the female.
An almost total deforestation of the Cotton-tops home range, as well as the capture of thousands of wild specimens for medical research purposes in the 60s, nearly pushed the species to the brink of extinction in it’s native Colombia. It now numbers about 6,000 individuals but is listed as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List.
Since the end of the 80s, the Proyecto Titi, supported by La Palmyre Zoo, is managing a multidisciplinary conservation programme that has been studying groups of Cotton-top Tamarins in the wild, educating local communities and working to create several protected areas.
According to representatives from the French zoo, the one-month-old newborn is reportedly doing well and has started to eat solid food, though it is still suckling. Among cercopithecidae species, weaning is usually completed around one-year-old. The baby is yet-to-be-named, as the keepers haven’t confirmed its sex with certainty.
Photo Credits: Florence Perroux/Zoo de La Palmyre
De Brazza’s Monkeys (Cercopithecus neglectus) are born with a yellow-brown fur that darkens as they grow up. Adults have an orange crescent-shaped band of hair on their forehead and a white beard. De Brazza’s Monkeys mainly feed on fruits but also consume leaves and insects, and they frequently forage on the ground.
In the wild, the species is common and widespread. As it occurs in dozens of African countries, it is not threatened in short term but locally suffers from habitat destruction. Cercopithecidae are also hunted for their meat or because they sometimes destroy crops.
A female L’Hoest’s Monkey made a dramatic entrance into the world at Zoo de La Palmyre, in France.
The infant was born on July 23 via emergency caesarean performed on her 9-year old mother. When dystocia (difficult delivery) was confirmed, the veterinary team intervened very quickly to assist in the birth.
Unfortunately, the baby did not present a sufficient grasping reflex (her mother was an inexperienced primiparous female). Therefore, after careful consideration, the vet decided hand rearing would be in the best interest of the newborn. She was put in an incubator at the Zoo nursery, where she immediately started being fed by the keepers.
A few days later, her incubator was put in the corridor of the monkey building, just in front of the L’Hoest’s Monkeys’ cage. This early return in close proximity to her group should allow the baby to have visual and auditory contact with her peers and facilitate her future reintroduction with them within a few months.
Photo Credits: Zoo de La Palmyre/ Florence Perroux (1,4)/ Sebastien Meys (2,3)For the time being the baby receives bottles of 20ml of milk every two hours from 8am to midnight. Keepers report that she’s very dynamic and reacts positively to the presence of the other L’Hoest’s Monkeys who are also very interested by this stirring baby.
L’Hoest Monkeys (Allochrocebus lhoesti) are native to the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, western Rwanda and Uganda. Adults have a brilliant white ruff around their neck and amber-colored eyes. Youngsters have brown-red coast that darken with age.
For the past month, the nursery team at La Palmyre Zoo has been taking care of the small, fragile female, who has been named Ikopa. Keepers feed her milk every two hours, from 8am to 9pm. Since two weeks of age, she has also been given fruits (apple, pear, kiwi) and vegetables (salad, cucumber).
Ikopa’s parents and older brother (born in 2015) have been transferred to an adjacent cage so the family can maintain visual and sound contact between all the individuals. When weaning is completed, Ikopa will be reintroduced to her parents and sibling.
As for the keepers, they are in contact with the baby only for feeding her or when the incubator is to be cleaned (imprinting being the worst enemy of the animals raised at the nursery).
Photo Credits: F. Perroux/Zoo de La Palmyre
The Blue-eyed Black Lemur (Eulemur flavifrons), also known as the “Sclater's Lemur”, is a species of true lemur. It inhabits primary and secondary sub-tropical moist and dry forests in the northwestern tip of Madagascar.
The species can attain a body length of 39–45 cm, a tail length of 51–65 cm- a total length of 90–100 cm, and a weight of 1.8-1.9 kg. A primate, this lemur has strong hands with palms like a human, which have a rubbery texture to give it a firm grip on branches. Its tail is longer than its body and non-prehensile.
Active during day and night, the Blue-eyed Black Lemur lives in multi-male/multi-female groups of up to a dozen individuals. It feeds mainly on fruits and leaves. Like many other lemur species, females are dominant over males.
In the wild, females give birth to one or two offspring in June or July, after a gestation of 120 to 129 days. The young are weaned after about 5–6 months, and reach maturity at about 2 years of age. They may live between 15–30 years in captivity.
A victim of habitat fragmentation (slash and burn destruction) and poaching, it is currently classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. It is believed that only about 1,000 individuals remain in the wild.
The Association Européenne pour l’Etude et la Conservation des Lémuriens (AEECL), supported by La Palmyre Zoo since 2002, has been developing a conservation program in the home range of the species in Sahamalaza (northwestern Madagascar), where eco-guards protect the forest from fires and illegal incursions, the area being recognized as a national park since 2007. The AEECL also supports the education of children and the sustainable development of communities.
La Palmyre Zoo, in France, recently welcomed four new Ring-tailed Lemurs!
The infants were born to three different mothers between March 3 and March 12. The sexes of the infants are yet-to-be-determined, but Zoo Keepers report that the youngsters (which includes a set of twins) are keeping their families busy and doing fantastic!
Photo Credits: Florence Perroux/ La Palmyre Zoo
The Ring-tailed Lemur (Lemur catta) is a large strepsirrhine primate and recognized due to its long, black and white ringed tail. It belongs to Lemuridae, one of five Lemur families, and is the only member of the Lemur genus.
It is endemic to the island of Madagascar and inhabits deciduous forests, dry scrub, humid forests, and gallery forests along riverbanks. The species is omnivorous and the diet includes flowers, herbs, bark and sap, as well as spiders, caterpillars, cicadas, grasshoppers, and small vertebrates.
A Yellow-breasted Capuchin was born on May 17, at Zoo de la Palmyre, bringing the number living in the Zoo’s Monkey House to a total of ten.
The sex of the young Capuchin is yet unknown. Determining the sex requires being able to observe the infant closely, in the right position, which isn’t easy during the first weeks, as the baby spends a lot of time sleeping with its belly pressed against mother.
Photo Credits: F. Perroux/Zoo de la Palmyre
Capuchins are New World monkeys of the subfamily Cebinae. They are readily identified as the "organ-grinder" monkey, and were once very popular in movies and television. The range of Capuchin monkeys includes Central America and South America as far south as northern Argentina. They usually occupy the wet lowland forests on Caribbean coast of Costa Rica and Panama and deciduous dry forest on the Pacific coast.
There are 22 different species of Capuchins in the wild. Yellow-breasted Capuchins (Cebus xanthosternos), also known as “Buff-headed Capuchin” or “Golden-bellied Capuchin”, are endemic to the Brazilian Atlantic forest and live in groups from 10 to 30 individuals. Males can exceed 4kg while females are smaller and weigh less than 3.5kg.
Their prehensile tail acts like a fifth limb and allows them to free their hands while foraging. But unlike the tail of Spider and Howler Monkeys, Capuchins cannot hang by their tail excepting young individuals helped by their lower weight.
Although their diet is mostly composed of fruits, Capuchins also consume eggs and small prey, such as lizards, insects, or birds.
The species is severely threatened by habitat loss, as a result of the massive ongoing deforestation throughout its range: about 92% of the original surface of the Brazilian Atlantic forest has already been destroyed. Captures for the illegal pet trade and hunting for food are also serious treats.
Two Golden Lion Tamarins born March 13 at France’s La Palmyre Zoo are part of a worldwide program aimed at boosting the wild population.
Golden Lion Tamarins were on the brink of extinction in their native Brazilian rain forest in the 1980s. Between 1984 and 2001, a worldwide consortium of 43 zoos, including La Palmyre Zoo, translocated 146 individuals to Brazil to bolster the wild population. Thanks to this program, there are now more than 3,000 Golden Lion Tamarins in the wild, with about 1,000 of these being descendants of the zoo-born translocated animals.
Photo Credit: F. Perroux/La Palmyre Zoo
Zoo-born Tamarins are still translocated occasionally to reinforce some wild populations. The program also includes protection of the forest corridor that the Tamarins rely on for survival.
Without the translocation of zoo-born Tamarins, Golden Lion Tamarins might be extinct in the wild today.
These tiny Monkeys travel through the forests in small family groups, feeding on fruit, nectar, tree gum, and small animals.
Golden Lion Tamarins weigh only one to two pounds as adults. At birth, babies weight about 8-10% of their mothers’ body weight. They are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Two Bornean Orangutan babies were born just three weeks apart at France’s La Palmyre Zoo. The two little ones are important additions to the zoo breeding program designed to help save this endangered species.
Photo Credit: F. Perroux/Zoo de la Palmyre
During the night of August 15, 18-year old Katja gave birth to a male named Hutan after a gestation period of 7.5 months. Because this was Katja’s first baby, zoo keepers were concerned that her lack of experience could cause Katja to improperly care for her baby. But Katja was mother-reared (as opposed to being hand-reared by humans) and observed many babies being raised in her family group, two factors that contribute to proper infant care. So far Katja is taking good care of Hutan and exhibits strong maternal skills.
Three weeks later, 39-year-old Tiba gave birth to her fifth baby, a female named Nanga. Tiba is an experienced mother. However, a few days after the birth, Tiba had to treated for an infection, which raised some concerns for her infant. Fortunately, the treatment was successful Tiba is now doing much better.
These infants are the zoo’s first since 2002 and are the result of a new male Orangutan named Barito, who arrived in 2014 to replace the resident male, who was unable to produce offspring.
Katja and Tiba are together but remain isolated from the rest of the group so they can build strong bonds with their babies. Orangutans have the longest childhood of any animal except humans – babies remain with their mothers for 8-12 years. Orangutans can live for more than 50 years.
Wild Bornean Orangutans face serious threats in the wild as rain forests are replaced by large palm oil plantations. Found only on the island of Borneo, these apes are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to massive habitat destruction.
La Palmyre Zoo supports the Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Project in Sabah, Borneo. Only 20% of Sabah's Orangutans live in protected areas, so there's an urgent need to conserve the remaining 80% who live in plantations, commercial forests or unallocated lands. This conservation work includes reconnecting isolated forest fragments through land acquisition, creation of corridors, and construction of artificial bridges; minimizing human/animal conflicts; and collaborating with forest loggers and plantation operators in order to promote a sustainable oil palm industry.
A baby Blue-Eyed Lemur has been receiving very special care at its home at the La Palmyre Zoo. When the youngster appeared weak and was having trouble clinging to its mother's fur following its birth on April 9th, keepers sprang into action to hand raise the baby, providing 24-hour care.
The little girl, the first of this species born at the zoo since they began caring for its kind eleven years ago, has been making great progress and is growing at a steady rate. After removing it for care, keepers brought its entire family to the nursery to make sure that the parents stayed in visual contact with the newborn. Now, at two months of age, the baby is healthy and reportedly very active.
Photo Credit: F. Perroux / La Palmyre Zoo
Last week, both the newborn and its family were returned to their normal enclosure, however, for now the baby is remaining in its own cage within the enclosure as a precautionary measure due to its small size. When it is big enough, the baby will be slowly and carefully reintroduced to its entire family.