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Lisa Ridley
New Squirrel Monkey

The trees of Taronga’s Amazonia exhibit have come alive with the arrival of 12 female Squirrel Monkeys from a French zoo. 

The females joined Taronga’s male, Chico, in the recently renovated exhibit where keen-eyed visitors can see them leaping and dashing amongst the trees on the islands of Amazonia.

Primate Keeper, Lisa Ridley, said: “The trees are full of movement from these energetic and curious little monkeys.

“These are exciting times, as it has been a long time since the trees of Amazonia have seen a large group of monkeys. Chico certainly has his hands full with 12 new females.

“They have such high energy, are always on the go and are never boring,” said Lisa.

Taronga Zoo is part of the joint Australasian breeding program for Bolivian Squirrel Monkeys.

“We have already had success in the breeding program with the birth of two squirrel monkey babies since the females arrived at Taronga,” said Lisa.

Over the next few months sharp-eyed visitors will be able to see the new-born Squirrel Monkeys clinging to their mothers like tiny, furry backpacks until they are ready to start exploring on their own.

“Now eight-weeks-old, the babies are alert and can often be glimpsed on the backs of other females in the group. This is called alloparenting and gives the mother a break from carrying the baby.

“We hope to see many more baby Squirrel Monkeys when the next breeding season starts in September.”

New-world primates such as Squirrel Monkeys and the critically endangered Cotton-top Tamarins are targeted for the illegal pet trade and are losing their natural rainforest in South America due to logging.

Australian travellers are encouraged to report illegal wildlife trafficking using the Wildlife Witness app. The app is a free download and enables travellers to report suspicious activity.  

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