Zookeepers at ZSL London Zoo have welcomed an adorable new arrival, just ahead of October half-term: a baby white-naped mangabey, named after one of ZSL’s loyal volunteers.
Zookeepers have unanimously agreed to name the three-week-old youngster Sheila, after ZSL volunteer Sheila Smith. The 65-year-old has spent the last 13 years helping out at world famous conservation zoo, ZSL London Zoo.
Beautiful pictures taken by Sheila - who is also a talented photographer - show the new female, born in the early hours of Sunday 26 September, nestled into her mother’s arms as she nurses.
ZSL London Zoo’s head of primates, Dan Simmonds, said: “Sheila Smith has been a devoted volunteer at the Zoo for more than a decade, and the primate team have always been grateful for her support and dedication to ZSL.
“We decided to name our latest arrival after Sheila to recognise her years of hard work with the primates; she often carries a camera with her when she volunteers, so she’s able to quickly snap amazing images of our new arrivals.”
One of the world’s rarest primates, Sheila was born to parents Achimoto and Lucky after a five and a half-month gestation period and takes the Zoo’s troop to a total of nine.
A hugely important addition to the European Breeding Programme for Endangered Species (EEP), mangabeys are among some of the most endangered monkeys on the planet and are only found in western Africa. They are under threat from habitat loss and the illegal wildlife trade, including being hunted for their fur and as bushmeat.
Visitors to the Zoo this half-term will be able to see baby Sheila along with 20,000 other animals - including Giant Galápagos tortoises Dolly, Polly and Priscilla, who have just moved into the Zoo’s new Giants of the Galápagos exhibit. Book your tickets now at www.zsl.org.