Friday, November 16, 2007

Rare Wooly Monkey Born At Sanctuary

woolly monkeyA rare woolly monkey has been born in a Dorset animal sanctuary as part of an endangered species breeding programme.

The primate, born at Monkey World at Wareham on Sunday, is being hand-reared by Alison Cronin after he was unable to suckle from his mother.

Mrs Cronin, sanctuary director, said the new arrival is the fifth Woolly Monkey born there since 1997.

"This is a great result as it is extremely difficult to breed them in captivity," Mrs Cronin said.

"I am pleased with the progress the new baby is making so far," she added.

The baby sleeps on a heat pad wrapped in blankets, weighs just over 400 grams (14 ounces), and requires feeding every two hours.

It is the half brother of Julio, who was born in May 2006 and also hand-reared by Mrs Cronin.

Julio was introduced back into his group at Monkey World when he was seven months old.

The woolly monkeys are bred as part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), along with the sanctuary's resident golden-cheeked gibbons and orang-utans.

The new baby woolly monkey and Alison Cronin (pic courtesy of Monkey World)
The baby is being fed every two hours by Alison Cronin

Monkey World said the success of its woolly monkey breeding programme was down to the staff's knowledge of the species' special requirements in captivity.

Female woolly monkeys are particularly susceptible to pre-eclampsia, or pregnancy related high blood pressure, just like human mothers.

This condition can be extremely dangerous to both mother and baby but the latest addition to the rescue centre and his mother are doing well.

Monkey World is also home to Xuzie, the oldest woolly monkey in captivity in the world.

Story here.

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