Rare ginger monkey born
Monday 5 December 2011
At only three weeks old, a tiny endangered monkey that looks just like the Olympic torch is firmly clinging on to life – and his teddy bear.
The miniature 4in Francois langur monkey was rejected by mum Lee Lee after his birth at ZSL London Zoo, and is now being looked after by surrogate mum, zookeeper Kate Sanders.
Born on the day the Olympic torch route was announced, zookeepers couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw his bright orange head and black body – making him look just like the Olympic torch.
They named him “Flame” in honour of his special birthday and unusual colouring, and after three weeks intensive care they are confident he’ll be around for 2012 and beyond.
Kate is still nurturing the baby langur with the help of a monkey teddy which the youngster clings onto. The teddy acts as a substitute monkey mum and will make it easier for keepers to reintroduce Flame to his real family.
The world’s population of Francois langurs (Trachypithecus francoisi) has halved in the last 40 years due to habitat loss and hunting.
Zookeeper Kate says: “Francois langurs are extremely endangered so Flame is a very precious monkey – he looks like a torch and he’s a beacon of hope for his species.
“Like any newborn Flame needs to be fed throughout the night. I’ve been staying at the Zoo to feed him milk every one and a half hours – so I’ve not had much sleep.
Kate adds: “We’re planning to reintroduce him to his mum Lee Lee, dad Neo, and his other housemates in the next few months when he’s a little bigger. But at the moment we’re keeping Flame warm in his incubator.”