Belfast Telegraph

Watch Belfast Zoo baby 'Zhen' monkey around

By Kirsten Elder

Belfast Zoo have received a very special Christmas delivery in the form of a rare baby monkey.

The Francois’ langur named Zhen was rejected by his mother and therefore has to be hand-reared.

Zhen arrived at the zoo when he was only four-weeks old after being transferred from London Zoo.

Andrew Hope, Zoo Curator, Belfast Zoo said: “Many first time mothers simply do not have the skill set or the instinct to care for their young and this can be common in many species.”

He adds: “We found ourselves in the same situation on 23 August 2014, when female Francois’ langur, Chi, gave birth to Xiao, Xing. Xiao Xing was rejected and I had to step in to care for the infant.”

Xiao Xing, the older of the two babies has lived with Andrew in his family home for the past three months, and needs 24 hour care.

Andrew Hope said: “There have been many countless sleepless nights and I have to feed him every few hours but it has defiantly been a rewarding experience.”

Francois’ langurs are found in tropical rainforests in Vietnam, Laos, and China.

The adult Francois’ langurs are black in colour with white marks, however newborns are ginger in colour. This changes slowly as the primate matures with age.

There are only seven zoos in Europe who can care for this endangered species, and one outside Europe, which is in Sydney, Australia.

Andrew Hope said: “I was delighted to get involved in hand-rearing Zhen. It is a particularly special experience as I was responsible for hand-rearing Zhen’s father, Neo, back in 2003. It’s a wonderful feeling to know my efforts with Neo have made an impact on the next generation on Francois’ langur in European zoo’s.”

He adds: “This species is particulary close to my heart. Earlier this year I claimed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise awareness for a number of conservation campaigns, including the Guanxi Francois’ langur conservation plan.”

Visitors cannot yet view the two baby monkeys as Andrew will continue to care for them at home over the coming weeks, once they are old enough they will slowly be reintroduced to the family group.

You can help Belfast Zoo care for the Francois’ langurs by taking part in the adoption scheme.

For more information visit www.belfastzoo.co.uk or call 028 9077 6277.

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