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Belfast Zoo’s new arrival brings 'hope' for species facing increasing threat

Published 14/03/2016

A Franois langur named Xiwang meaning hope in Chinese is Belfast Zoo's latest arrival.
A Franois langur named Xiwang meaning hope in Chinese is Belfast Zoo's latest arrival.
Belfast Zoo's latest arrival has brought hope for a species facing increasing threat in the wild
Zoos around the world are working collaboratively to ensure the future survival of this species through an active breeding programme

Belfast Zoo has welcomed a Francois' langur into the monkey house at its Cave Hill site.

On February 3 Xiwang meaning 'hope' in Chinese was born to parents Ajay and Nicolene. 

François’ langurs are found in the tropical forests and limestone hills of China, Vietnam and Laos but they are facing increasing threats and are endangered in their natural habitat. 

These primates typically live in small family groups consisting of one adult male, a ‘harem’ of adult females and their offspring. 

All females in the group take an active interest in the care of the infant and the females in the group often ‘babysit’ to allow the mother to rest and eat.

Research suggests that the species has declined by at least 50%, over the past 36 years, due to habitat loss and hunting. 

In 2003, it was estimated that there are less than 500 of these langurs in Vietnam and only 1,400 in China. 

Zoo curator, Andrew Hope, said “I am delighted with the latest arrival to the monkey house and this little ‘redhead’ is already becoming very popular with staff and visitors alike. 

"Adult François’ langurs are black in colour with striking white sideburns.  However, newborns are born ginger and their colour changes slowly as they mature.”

He added: Our latest arrival has been named Xiwang, which means ‘hope’ in Chinese.  We picked this name as, although things are looking bleak for this primate in the wild, we support a number of conservation programmes working tirelessly to protect the remaining populations. 

"Zoos around the world are also working collaboratively, to ensure the future survival of this species, through an active breeding programme.  

"François’ langurs are particularly close to my heart and I am extremely proud to be the studbook keeper for the François’ langur breeding programme. 

"This means that I am responsible for co-ordinating the genetic and reproductive management of the captive population, living in seven European zoos. 

"Xiwang’s arrival is not only something for Belfast Zoo to celebrate as the new arrival has brought hope to the species as a whole and we are delighted to be playing such an active role in the conservation of the François’ langur."

You can support the care of Belfast Zoo’s Francois' langurs by taking part in the animal adoption scheme. Find out more about the animal adoption scheme at www.belfastzoo.co.uk/adoption, email adoption@belfastzoo.co.uk or call 028 9077 6277 extension 229.

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