Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Tropiquaria breeds endangered monkey twins

A BREEDING programme at West Somerset zoo and adventure park Tropiquaria has produced two more babies of a critically endangered species of monkey.
The twin cotton-top tamarins were born at the Washford Cross visitor attraction a few days ago to parents Merry and Mungo.
Tropiquaria primate keeper Diane Bond said: “Mother, babies, and father are doing well.
“Father looks after the babies for most of the time, only handing the babies back to mother for feeding.”
Zoo director Chris Moiser said the situation in the wild was now looking bleak for tamarins as they were upgraded only last year from ‘endangered’ to ‘critically endangered’.
Mr Moiser said ‘critically endangered’ was the last classification before ‘extinct’.
He said: “The reason for this ‘upgrade’ is that they come from three relatively small reserves, each of which have lost significant portions of their monkey-friendly forests to development by rapidly growing local human populations.
“It is estimated that in the last 18 years the population has reduced by 80 per cent and that there are probably now only 6,000 individuals left in the wild, of which 2,000 are mature adults.
“Fortunately, these animals do remarkably well in captivity and there is now a very viable zoo population which could be used to enable re-introduction into the world should this ever become a viable possibility.”
More information about the tamarins and Tropiquaria’s breeding programme is available by calling Chris Moiser on 01984 640688.
Tropiquaria is currently open from 11 am to 4 pm at weekends and on Wednesdays.
School and group bookings are accepted on days when it is closed to the public.

  • Our photograph shows tamarin father Mungo with the twin babies clinging to his back. Photo submitted.

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