Zoo’s tiny baby is his mother’s darling
Wednesday 16 September 2009
This bright-eyed cutie clinging onto its mother’s long hair is a baby saki monkey.
The youngster, thought to be male and born just over a month ago is the newest and tiniest newborn at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.
Measuring just six inches long, he is still getting used to the world about him and spends most of the time wrapped around mum.
But while the baby, with its beautiful wide-eyed stare looks endearingly cute now, its beauty is short-lived. Male saki monkeys grow up to have dramatically different looks – stern white faces surrounded by a mop of dark black hair. A face only a mother could love!
This is the second baby born to mum, Rio and dad Kos. Saki monkeys originate from South America and feed on fruit and nuts, vegetation and small insects. The group at Whipsnade is proving to be a natural family, said senior keeper Trevor Moxey.
“Mum’s doing just what she needs to do and big sister, who was born last year, is showing a keen interest in the newborn and is watching the mother and copying. It’s just what you would like to see and she’s learning tips on how to be a mother herself,” he said.
Visitors to the zoo can see the tiny new arrival in the zoo’s Discovery Centre, open daily.
Saki monkeys - did you know?
- Saki monkeys (simian pithecia) are one of the New World monkeys originating from northern and central South America.
- They are small with long, bushy tails and the females are significantly different to the males. Females have shaggy brown and black coats while the males have distinctive creamy, white faces and thick black hair.
- Omnivorous, sakis eat mainly fruit, nuts and vegetation and insects. Their bodies are built for living in trees and they can grow to a length of up to 50cms.
- They form tight-knit family groups and when they pair the bond is usually for life. They make shrill bird-like twittering noises to communicate with each other.
- The saki monkeys at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo can be found in the Discovery Centre. There is a family of one adult male and female, one young female born in 2008 and the newborn. Their enclosure allows the monkeys the option of indoor or outdoor living.