24th July 2014
ZSL London Zoo’s newest and tiniest arrival has been spotted snoozing in the summer heatwave.
The black-capped squirrel monkey baby was born in the middle of the night, just over three weeks ago, with keepers discovering the tiny bundle clinging tightly on to mum during their morning rounds.
The miniscule monkey which currently measures just three inches tall, was born after a six -month gestation period in the Zoo’s Meet the Monkeys exhibit, where there are no barriers between visitors and the playful primates.
Having welcomed Eubie, a new male, in December last year as part of the European breeding programme for the species, keepers were delighted when he proved his stud-worthy credentials, with two more babies due any day.
Zookeeper Andrea Dempsey said: “Squirrel monkeys have an approximate gestation period of five to six months, and we’d been closely monitoring mum throughout her pregnancy – we knew she was due to give birth as her bump was huge!
“Squirrel monkeys live in large troops, which we’ve replicated here at ZSL London Zoo and including our new arrival, we’ve now got a group of 20 who are all enjoying fussing over the baby.
“The tiny infant hasn’t yet left the comfort of mum’s back for us to be able to tell if it’s a boy or girl, but we can see that it’s doing really well and we’ve spotted both of them snoozing together in the sunshine!”
Threatened in their native South American homes of Bolivia, Peru and Brazil, black-capped squirrel monkeys are caught for the pet trade and hunted for food.