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Friday, September 30, 2011

Am I adopted, Mum? Rare monkey gives birth to ginger baby at London Zoo

By Daily Mail Reporter

Like mother, like son: First time mum Lu Lu, a rare Francois langur monkey, snuggles up with baby Tango, who was born with ginger fur at London Zoo

It's tricky to see a family resemblance between these two but this tiny flame-haired primate, nicknamed Tango, is actually snuggling up to its mother Lu Lu at ZSL London Zoo.

And far from going ape when he saw his offspring, Tango's father Neo was gingerly helping the little monkey settle in.

Both parents have black fur but as little Tango's mother is a rare Francois' langurs monkey, a flame coloured coat is typical in offspring.

Experts say the ginger fur evolved so it is easy for parents to spot their offspring. And looking at little Tango you can see Mother Nature's point.

The youngster, who is yet to be sexed since being born on September 1, spends most of its time snuggled up to Lu Lu, but its auntie Lee Lee also helps out with the babysitting.

Zookeeper Kathryn Sanders said: 'Baby Tango is currently rocking the redhead look, but it won't actually be ginger for very long.

Go ape: Baby Tango's fur will gradually turn black and by the time he is six months old, he can be expected to look more like his Mum

'Its fur will begin to darken at around three months of age, and they are usually completely black by the time they reach six months old.'

Francois' langurs are one of the world's rarest monkeys, and originate from north east Vietnam and China.

Classed as critically endangered and are in real danger of extinction. Their populations have declined sharply since 1990 because of habitat loss.

Family contrast: The birth of baby Tango has been welcomed by zoo staff as the Francois langur monkey critically endangered due to the destruction of their habitats

There are now believed to be fewer than 500 Francois' langurs left in Vietnam and around 1500 in China. Zoos in the U.S. have only 60.

In the wild, they prefer areas with moist forest that grows on well sheltered rocky areas in the limestone hills and caves. In the wild they eat leaves, fruit, buds, flowers, seeds stems and bark supplement.



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