Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 April 2014

Rare monkeys start family at zoo

The newborn white-faced saki monkey weighed about five ounces when born four weeks ago (PA/Dublin Zoo)

A pair of rare monkeys have started a new family at Dublin Zoo.

The tiny white-faced saki was only 150 grams - about five ounces - when born four weeks ago and is only now just big enough to be seen by visitors.

Cradled by his protective mother, the unnamed male is one of the first new deliveries expected at the zoo over the summer. The Sulawesi-crested macaques also welcomed a new baby ape arrival recently.

Team leader Eddie O'Brien said it will be another four months before the young saki leaves his mother's side and ventures out in to the South American House enclosure.

He said: "At the moment he is feeding from his mother and in about four weeks he will start to eat solids of mainly fruit and vegetables.

"For the next four months, his mother will carry the little guy close to her chest.

"In time, he will become stronger, gain more independence and start exploring the habitat on his own."

While not endangered in the wild, white-faced sakis are a rare primate found in the tropical forests of Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela. There are only three in Dublin Zoo, the newborn and his parents.

They have long furry coats with thick, shaggy hair with the male developing a white face and females having a bright stripe of golden hair from beneath each eye to the corner of her mouth or chin.

Staff said the sakis are normally shy monkeys, but are known to put on a real show of aggression to protect their territory by arching their backs, growling loudly and shaking their hair and the tree branches.

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