Taronga is thrilled to welcome two tiny Squirrel Monkeys to its vibrant group.
These little primates can be spotted by keen eyed-visitors clinging to their mothers’ backs like tiny backpacks while their mothers leap and scurry around the trees of the Amazonia exhibit.
The infants are just weeks old, with the eldest born 23 November to first-time mother, Tumaia, and the second born to experienced mother Ayaca on the 1 December.
Primate Keeper, Suzie Lemon, said: “Both babies are doing fantastically, especially Tumaia. She’s turning out to be an amazing mother.”
“We’ve already seen the other monkeys on the group interacting with the babies. We’ve even seen some of the younger females taking an interest in the babies which is great to see. Infants are really good for the group, especially the two juveniles Carlos and Luna, who are getting to see the new babies and how the group interacts with them.”
“The older infant is starting to climb up and down mum’s body, in about a week we’ll see some of the other females start to allo parent and carry the babies, and within a month we should see them starting to climb on the ropes and explore a little bit away from their mums,” said Suzie.
“These two new infants bring our Squirrel Monkey group to 17 individuals. In the wild they can live in groups from 50 to 100. They’re extremely social animals, with multiple females and their offspring living together while the males live on the periphery guarding territory and coming together for breeding.”
“We see that in our group where our male Chico will spend his time at the edges of the exhibit. This is his second breeding season, so it’s great to see two offspring from him this year, and hopefully more on the way.”
Taronga is part of the regional breeding program for the Bolivian Squirrel Monkey. Squirrel Monkeys are native to South America and while not endangered, they are still at risk from habitat loss and the illegal pet trade.
The Squirrel Monkey trees are located behind the Alligator swamp near the main entrance.