Endangered baby monkey gives ‘Hope’ to her species
Thursday 5 May 2011
New white-naped mangabey joins Europe’s most successful breeding group
A tiny baby monkey born at ZSL London Zoo is giving hope to a species of primate ravaged by deforestation and poaching in the wild.
Hope, a white-naped mangabey (Cercocebus atys lunulatus), was born three weeks ago to mum Bella and dad Lucky and is one of the world’s rarest primates.
ZSL London Zoo is at the forefront of breeding the endangered monkeys, as part of the European Endangered species Programme (EEP), and is now home to the largest breeding group in Europe, following the birth of Conchita and Luca in 2008, Paddy in 2009 and now Hope.
White-naped mangabey breeding at ZSL London Zoo is so successful that zookeeper Andrea Payne, who has worked with the primate group since its arrival in 2008, is researching the success to try to increase the numbers in other European zoos.
In the past 27 years deforestation and hunting pressure in countries like Ghana have devastated wild white-naped mangabey populations by at least 50 per cent, so captive babies like Hope are extremely important.
Zookeeper Andrea Payne says: “White-naped mangabeys are notoriously difficult to breed and their dire situation in the wild means it’s now critical that we ensure a future for these endangered monkeys.
“It’s fantastic that we have another mangabey baby at ZSL London Zoo. Bella is just a fantastic mum, she takes everything in her stride and Lucky is a very protective dad. The group is really brilliant with all youngsters bouncing around to the joy of the watching public”.