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Bring your little monkeys to meet their mischievous mates at Twycross Zoo

Black and gold howler monkeys at Twycorss Zoo

On Wednesday 14 December, Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire will be celebrating the World Monkey Day to raise awareness of the various primate species and the threats they face in the wild. Visitors to the zoo can learn about twenty different species of monkeys, seven of which are threatened with extinction.

Monkeys have always been an important part of Twycross Zoo’s collection and some species, such as the critically endangered Black Spider Monkey, have been resident at the zoo since its opening in 1963. Characterised by their slender bodies and a long gripping tail which allows them to pick things up, there is currently a lively group of Black Spider Monkeys at the zoo, including two girls, Loco and Amabel, who were born in 2015.

Recognised worldwide as a specialist in primate conservation, Twycross Zoo is involved in international captive breeding programmes which are vital in ensuring the future survival of endangered species. As part of such programme, the zoo recently celebrated the birth of two endangered François langur babies and visitors can spot many more new monkey babies around the zoo.

Young monkeys can be seen jumping from tree to tree in the De Brazza, red titi, emperor tamarin, Lowe’s guenon, and L’Hoest monkey enclosures. The world’s smallest species of monkey, Pygmy marmoset, otherwise known as the Pocket Monkey, have also welcomed new arrivals, as have their cousins, Silvery marmosets. In April, the zoo’s Diana monkeys produced a very special baby, the first one born at Twycross Zoo in nearly 30 years.

While monkeys are popular all around the world and celebrated by events such as the World Monkey Day, their future in the wild is threatened. The tree-dwelling animals suffer from habitat loss as large areas are cleared for logging and agriculture, often done by setting fire to whole areas of forest. In addition, many of the species are hunted for food and threatened by illegal pet trade.

Dr Charlotte Macdonald, Director of Life Sciences says, “We have a fantastic range of monkeys at Twycross Zoo. We have been very successful this year with so many births, so there is a lot going on in the enclosures with lots of activities from our new youngsters. Each of the species is unique and with so many issues threatening their survival in the wild, it is important for us to educate our visitors about their conservation to ensure a better future for these wonderful creatures.”

Twycross Zoo is open to the public from 10.00 to 17.00. For more information and to book tickets visit www.twycrosszoo.org or call 0844 474 1777.