|Not a member? Sign up now!|
Five Bolivian squirrel monkeys are about to make a new home at Brooklands Zoo.
The monkeys are among 30 which are from zoos in Europe. They will be bred in Auckland and Wellington zoos, with New Plymouth’s zoo holding a bachelor group.
“Our bachelor group will be used as potential future breeding stock,” says Assistant Curator Brooklands Zoo Eve Cozzi.
“For successful breeding it’s best to rotate the males from the breeding groups every two to three years, so we will transfer monkeys between the three zoos as needed.”
This is the first time that Bolivian squirrel monkeys have been imported to New Zealand.
Says Mayor Harry Duynhoven: “It’s great that Brooklands can team with Wellington and Auckland zoos in helping to grow the population of these squirrel monkeys.
“The zoo team has a good reputation for their work with exotic animals, which makes it possible for locals to have access to species which they otherwise wouldn’t have a chance to see.”
The monkeys are small and very active, and Ms Cozzi expects them to be a hit at Brooklands.
“I’ve worked with them overseas. They will each have their own personalities and they’re super cute. They’re excellent climbers and really good at jumping and leaping,” she says.
Squirrel monkeys can live up to 20 years. Brooklands Zoo’s monkeys are quite young, ranging in age from 1.5 years to just under four years.
The monkeys are being transported to Brooklands Zoo today (Tuesday) and will be on public display in mid to late March, once the former lemur enclosure has been renovated for their use.
About squirrel monkeys
Squirrel monkeys are captured for medical research and the pet trade; however, they are not threatened in the wild.
They are found in tropical lowland rainforest throughout Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and Venezuela where they live in the trees’ canopy layers.
Squirrel monkeys are omnivores and eat insects, fruit, flowers and seeds.
They use their tails for balancing and for marking territory – squirrel monkeys rub their tail and their skin with their own urine.
In the wild, their small size makes them susceptible to predators such as snakes and cats.