The city zoo got a special gift as it celebrated the Night of Living Zoo, its biggest annual fundraiser.
Keeper Joy Gibson-McIntire noticed something different in the animal holding area of the sloth exhibit. The male and female Titi monkeys were huddled close together and as she peered into their enclosure, she noticed what looked like another appendage on the male monkey. As she looked closer, she saw a tiny baby monkey clinging to his dad.
The two adult Titi monkeys at Salisbury Zoo are among just 46 of their species currently in Association of Zoos & Aquariums accredited zoos in the nation, the zoo said.
Threatened mainly by habitat destruction, the Titi monkey is one of 36 species of primates found in the Amazon region. The monkeys are part of AZA’s Species Survival Plan, which aims to ensure long-term viability of the captive population of the species.
Although these tiny monkeys reach full adult weight at 10 months of age, they do not reach sexual maturity until 3-5 years of age.
The pair usually mate for life, and like tamarins, the father takes over the care of the infant after it is 2 days old. He carries it, grooms it, shelters it with his body when it rains. He only returns it to the mother to drink milk. This occurs for 4 to 5 months.
Youngsters remain in the family until they are about 3 years old, even when other babies are born.
“The birth of this little creature has special meaning to all of the zoo staff and volunteers, it is what we have worked so hard to do, the timing couldn’t have been better,” said Director Joel Hamilton.