30/06/2017

Baby titi monkey survives against the odds at Bristol Zoo

A tiny red titi monkey has survived against the odds at Bristol Zoo Gardens thanks to round the clock care from keepers since the hour he was born.

His mum, Bella, died after giving birth and over the past four weeks a dedicated team of keepers have fed him day and night to keep him alive.

And now the little monkey, named Pichiku, is thriving.

Bristol Zoo is believed to be only the second zoo in the country to have succeeded in handrearing a titi monkey to this stage.

Keepers began by carrying him home in an incubator for the first two and a half weeks and feeding him one milligram of formula baby milk every two hours.

Pichiku, which means little monkey in a local Peruvian dialect, one of the native countries to red titi monkeys is now being fed every three hours and is taking up to 5 milligrams of milk.

He is still only about 12 cm long (five inches) but he is sleeping through the night from his final feed at half past midnight until his morning feed at 6.30am.

And he is starting to eat baby rice and learning to lap at it for the first time.

Pichiku is being kept in a small enclosure away from the public for the time being where the temperature is maintained between 22C and 25C.

He lays on a soft golden teddy bear which he thinks of as his mum.

 

Keeper Emily Lewis said: “He has survived against all the odds, he’s definitely a fighter, a determined little one.”

Pichiku has also started to climb and develop muscles in his arms but it will be two years before he is fully grown.

The next step will be re-introducing him to his dad, Junin, who lives in the enclosure next door.

Red titi monkey dads usually look after their babies after the first two days before returning them to their mums for feeding.

Pichiku’s dad carried him around after his mum died but would not have been able to keep him alive.

Emily said: “We are hoping that dad will recognise him and they will get on when we put them together. But we won’t know how they will react until we try it.”

“For now, they have visual access to each other all day where they can see, hear and smell each other to ensure they are as familiar as possible. They are often heard vocalising away to each other, with lovely high-pitched chirps.”

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