Baby squirrel monkey arrives on bonfire weekend

As the city prepared for bonfire night, a baby squirrel monkey was born at Bristol Zoo Gardens.

Within a short time the tiny baby, who is less than four inches long, was clinging to its mum Gimli’s back and being carried through the trees.

Mammal keeper Jack Cunningham said: “Gimli is almost 16 and is an experienced mum.  On the first day she took the baby to the top of a tree.”

But it will be some time before keepers are able to get close enough to check whether the new baby squirrel monkey is a girl or a boy.

There are now 21 squirrel monkeys at Bristol Zoo including the new baby’s dad, Boris.

This community is crucially important to the survival of squirrel monkeys that are found in Brazil, Peru and Bolivia.

Their future is uncertain because large parts of the forests where they live have been cut down for farming.

Out of the five species of squirrel monkeys, two of them are listed as vulnerable and are close to becoming endangered.

In about two months, the new baby will start nibbling vegetables and meal worms although her mum will carry on feeding a couple of years.

When a squirrel monkey is 10 months old it will become independent and fend for itself.

Jack said there were two other squirrel monkeys at the Zoo who were expecting and should be giving birth later this month.

Squirrel monkeys are born at this time of year because in their natural habitat the rainy season means food is more plentiful.

Bristol Zoo Gardens is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work in the Zoo, but also its vital conservation and research projects spanning five continents.


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