Taronga Zoo has welcomed four tiny Squirrel Monkey babies to its vibrant group.
Visitors to the new Squirrel Monkey Jungle Walk may spot the new arrivals clinging to their mothers’ backs like tiny backpacks as they leap and scurry from branch to branch.
The infants are just weeks old, with the eldest born just before Christmas on 20 December and the youngest born on 10 January.
Primate keeper, Janet Lackey said: “It’s a very exciting time for the family group of 17 Squirrel Monkeys. We are starting to see the older babies venturing off mum’s back and exploring the trees and ropes, and being very playful together. The youngest baby is still clinging tightly to mum as there is quite a big developmental difference between four and six weeks of age.”
“We do have a first time mum in the group, little four-year-old Yamma, and she is doing so impressively well. We are really proud of her,” said Janet.
Keepers are yet to name or determine the sexes of the babies, who are receiving lots of attention from the other adults in Taronga’s Squirrel Monkey group.
“We have noticed some of the aunties in the family group have started sharing the responsibility of looking after the babies. It’s wonderful to see some of our more experienced mums, who haven’t had a baby this season, sharing their mothering skills. It’s also lovely to see some of the younger aunties practicing their mothering skills and the whole community working together to bring up the babies,” said Janet.
Taronga is part of the regional breeding program for Bolivian Squirrel Monkeys. Squirrel Monkeys are native to Central and South America and, while not endangered, they are still at risk from habitat loss and the illegal pet trade.