A new infant can be seen hitching a ride on his mother’s back at Taronga Zoo’s Amazonia habitat.
The as yet un-named infant was born to mum Lena. Keepers say the pair are doing extremely well.
Last year Taronga introduced 12 French females to their Aussie bachelor Chico and this is the first infant to be born out of that pairing.
Suzie Lemon a primate keeper at Taronga Zoo said, “Lena and baby are doing amazingly well. A lot of the female Squirrel Monkeys have been interacting with the baby, and our two oldest Squirrel Monkeys, Ayaca and Squirius, have been showing a lot of interest by vocalising at him and rubbing up against him.”
Squirrel monkeys develop very fast and at two weeks old the youngster is already “climbing on ropes by himself with all four legs, with just his tail holding onto mum,” added Lemon.
“In the next few weeks we’ll see other females start to carry him around and nanny him a bit, then he’ll slowly start to explore on his own.”
He is not the only youngster in the group though. Carlos was one of two babies who travelled from France with their mums. He may be almost the same size as mum Lalosa but that hasn’t stopped him from sneaking a ride on her back.
“Carlos is eating what everyone else eats now. He loves insects, fruit and vegetables but still suckles from mum occasionally. Whenever he’s scared he’ll jump on her back,” explained Lemon
He’s also been taking a keen interest in the newbie, “The other day Carlos was reaching out and touching the baby wanting to play and interact him. We’re hoping they’ll be jumping around the tree tops together very soon.”
Found throughout South and Central America squirrel monkeys are the world’s smallest primate. They live in groups that may number up to 500.
The illegal pet trade and deforestation along with fragmentation has been reducing their numbers especially in Costa Rica and Panama. They are not yet threatened but may be if this persecution continues.
Travellers venturing to South America can use the Wildlife Witness App to report illegal wildlife trafficking.
Photo Credit: Madeline Smitham/ Taronga Zoo