A King among men (and other primates)

Posted on February 22, 2011


This infant’s arrival didn’t have the pomp that most royalty receive, but the latest West Country’s edition born at  Paignton Zoo Environmental Park is by no means any less important.

infant King colobus monkey

It’s a King Colobus monkey (Colobus polykomos) also known as the Western Black-and-white Colobus.

These monkeys are endangered and officially rated as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Only six other zoos in Europe have them in their collections.

King Colobus are arboreal Old World monkeys and are indigenous to Western Africa,  they are found in countries ranging from Gambia to Ivory Coast. They live in multimale-multifemale groups in the wild.

The young are born white with black around the eyes, grey tails and black hands, their colour changes as they develop. This infant has not yet been given a name and has not been sexed – it was born to parents Martin and Squidge.

Squidge has had two previous babies with Martin. Her first died after a month and the second was still-born, so keepers are hoping it will be third time lucky.

King colobus monkey, born at Paignton Zoo in Devon

Paignton Zoo Environmental Park director of operations and curator of mammals, Neil Bemment said: “That winning combination of endearing youngsters and important conservation breeding successes is very satisfying. The king colobus birth is particularly significant as there is a small zoo population that needs to grow.”

Paignton Zoo Environmental Park has successfully bred the species before and several animals have gone on to breed at other collections including Blackpool Zoo, Marwell Zoo and Africa Alive in Suffolk.

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