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Belfast Zoo Keeper Adopts Baby Francois Langur

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: August 18, 2021 3:15 am

Francois Langur Infant Belfast Zoo

Hóngxīn the Francois langur explores a tree. She is being cared for by a keeper after being abandoned by mom

Photo Credit: Belfast Zoo

A keeper at Belfast Zoo has become the adoptive mother of a Francois langur after it was not being cared by its parents.

Born on May 8th 2021 the now three month old infant was cared for by keeper Geraldine Murphy. She adopted the infant and as such each night she takes the little monkey home so she can be fed every few hours.

Geraldine's family nicknamed the youngster "wee red" and to honor this the official name has been decided to be Hóngxīn, meaning "red heart" in Chinese. This name also serves as a nod to the birth mark present on the back of her head.

Francois Langur Infant Belfast Zoo

Hóngxīn the François’ langur clings to keeper Geraldine Murphy who is working to raise the infant after her mother abandoned her.

Photo Credit: Belfast Zoo

After several months of raising Hóngxīn Geraldine is now working to return the infant to her family group. Geraldine is an experienced animals carer having raised two Chilean flamingo chicks in 2018.

"Hand-rearing animals is no easy job, it is time consuming and can be difficult, but it is also very rewarding. Hóngxīn is definitely keeping me busy but it will be worth it when she is fully integrated back into her family again. Not a lot of people know about this type of primate, but these beautiful monkeys are very vibrant animals, who are incredibly intelligent and agile. It is a real privilege to be able help this endangered species," added Geraldine.

Geraldine explained some reasons young animals are abandoned by their parents, "There are occasions where mothers just do not have the skill set or the instinct to care for their young but thankfully this is not very frequent. After monitoring the mother and baby it quickly became clear that we needed to become involved.”

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Belfast Zoo maintain a successful breeding program for the François’ langur. Since the species arrived at the zoo in 1994 more than 20 of these youngsters have been born.

Curator of Belfast Zoo, Andrew Hope acts as the studbook keeper for the François’ langur breeding program. This means that he works to co-ordinate the genetics and breeding of these rare primates which are held at only seven European zoos.

Francois Langur Infant Belfast Zoo

Hóngxīn the Francois langur in an enclosure. She is being raised by a keeper after her mother abandoned it.

Photo Credit: Belfast Zoo

Andrew explained how important the birth is, "Here at Belfast Zoo we have been incredibly successful at breeding this endangered primate and we are delighted with the arrival of Hóngxīn. This infant is not just something for us to celebrate here at Belfast Zoo, but globally this is significant as with each new arrival, fresh hope is brought to the species as a whole. Logging and the expansion of agriculture has destroyed the habitat of the François’ langur and they are also captured and sold as pets or used in traditional medicines. Numbers are in serious decline and we are honoured that we are able to play an active role in the conservation of the François’ langur.”

Less than 2000 francois langur infants remain in their native of China and Vietnam where they face threats including poaching and habitat loss.

Francois Langur Infant Belfast Zoo

Hóngxīn the Francois langur clings to a stuffed toy animal. She is being raised by a keeper after she was abandoned by mom.

Photo Credit: Belfast Zoo

Learn more about Francois Langurs here – Francois Langur Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about the Belfast Zoo on their website – Belfast Zoo

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