Monkey magic at Essex zoo

A COLONY of tiny monkeys at an Essex zoo has been experiencing a baby boom in the last few weeks and the new arrivals can now be seen by the public.

A COLONY of tiny monkeys at an Essex zoo has been experiencing a baby boom in the last few weeks, and the new arrivals can now be seen by the public.

The squirrel monkey group at Colchester Zoo has welcomed its sixth new addition to its ranks and all the babies are doing well and can be seen clinging to their mothers' backs in the “Heart of the Amazon” exhibit.

A zoo spokesman said the babies were cared for exclusively by the females in the group and some of the older youngsters were starting to explore the ropes and branches in the enclosure.

She said: “The squirrel monkey is currently listed as vulnerable in the wild mainly due to habitat loss due to forest clearing to make way for agricultural land.

“They are also subject to poaching and are commonly sold as pets in both domestic and foreign markets. The little monkeys are easy to capture and are frequently smuggled out of the country of origin.”

The zoo's baby boom in the squirrel monkey group is only a part of its successful primate breeding programme.

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The zoo has also seen recent births in its mandrill troop and family of red-bellied tamarins, while keepers were also pleased to announce the birth of a baby Colobus monkey last month.