Belfast Zoo man battling to hand-rear tiny newborn monkey who was rejected by his mother
A Belfast Zoo curator has been battling sleepless nights to hand-rear a tiny newborn monkey which was rejected by its mother.
Andrew Hope has been caring for the infant Francois' langur since it was born to mother Chi at the zoo on August 23.
"There are occasions where first-time mothers just do not have the skill set or the instinct to care for their young. This is fairly common in many species," Andrew said.
"After monitoring the mother and baby it quickly became clear to us we needed to become involved."
Since then, Andrew has been instrumental in hand-rearing the langur, taking him home to ensure 24-hour care and regular feeding every few hours.
"There have been a lot of sleepless nights and countless bottles but it has been so rewarding to see his progress," he said.
"In early 2014, I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise awareness for a number of conservation campaigns, including the Guanxi Francois' langur conservation action plan.
"Francois' langurs are facing a high risk of extinction.
"In 2003, there were estimated to be less than 500 langurs in Vietnam and only around 1400 in China. It has been a pleasure to play an active role in their conservation."
Francois' langurs are found in the tropical forests and limestone hills of China, Vietnam and Laos. For this reason, contact was made with the British International School of Shanghai, where the children were given the challenge of coming up with a Chinese name for the little monkey.
Nicola Howard, head of the middle school, said: "The winning name that the pupils decided on was a suggestion by year six student Marguerite Girard. Marguerite's name was 'Xiao Xing' which means 'little star'.
"We are delighted to have had the opportunity to name Xiao Xing and are looking forward to regular updates."
Visitors will not yet be able to see Xiao Xing as he continues to be cared for by Andrew. He is expected to rejoin the group in the zoo eventually.
To keep up to date with Xiao Xing's progress, visit www.belfastzoo.co.uk or www.facebook.com/belfastzoo.
Members of the public can support the care of Xiao Xing and the rest of the Francois' langur group, by adopting an animal at Belfast Zoo. Visit www.belfastzoo.co.uk/ adoption or email email@example.com.