Christmas has come early for Hamilton Zoo, with three new arrivals just in time for the festive season.
Two pygmy marmosets, mother Tinka and son Salvador, arrived at Hamilton Zoo from Wellington Zoo last Thursday, 15 December.
Hamilton Zoo Director Stephen Standley said the duo, who were born in England and imported to Wellington Zoo in January 2011, have started to settle into their new home in the Zoo’s Parrot Court aviaries which they share with a group of Plum-headed Parakets.
“This is the first time Hamilton Zoo has housed pygmy marmosets, which are one of the smallest primates in the world, weighing in at around 150 grams. These tiny creatures are very agile and active, and we expect Tinka and Salvador will be a popular attraction with Zoo visitors,” said Mr Standley.
“In future we hope to acquire more pygmy marmosets and eventually establish our own breeding group here at Hamilton Zoo.”
Also arriving at Hamilton Zoo from Wellington Zoo last week was six-year-old female African wild dog Rukiya, who will be introduced to two of the Zoo’s existing male African wild dogs to form a new breeding pack.
“The African wild dog is the second most endangered carnivore in Africa,” said Mr Standley. “We have successfully bred African wild dogs here at Hamilton Zoo in the past and hope to do so again with the new pack, so we can once again contribute to the regional zoo population.”
Meanwhile, despite Hamilton Zoo being closed to the public on Christmas Day, Mr Standley said plans are underway to ensure the day is a special one for its animals.
“Staff have been busy planning special treats for the animals on Christmas Day so that they can also celebrate the occasion. Among the surprises in store are boxes filled with mealworms for the meerkats and frozen bananas for the chimpanzee troop.
“Because Christmas Day is the only day of the year that Hamilton Zoo is closed to the public, it also means a change of pace for the animals – it’s likely to be one of the most peaceful and relaxing days of the year for them...Just like Christmas should be!”