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Friday, September 2, 2011

Who am I, mum? Baby monkey born in June still hasn’t been named by zookeepers… because they can’t tell its sex

By Daily Mail Reporter

The unnamed L'Hoest's monkey: Keepers at Edinburgh Zoo still don't know whether it's a boy or a girl, despite the fact it was born in June

With tiny clasped fingers and large, searching eyes, this baby monkey may have reason to look a little troubled.

Despite being born at the end of June, keepers at Edinburgh Zoo still don’t know whether it’s a male or a female.

As its gender is unknown, the orange-eye baby L’Hoest’s monkey hasn’t yet been given a name.

Animal team leader at the zoo, Lorna Hughes, said the tiny primate has proved to be a big hit with visitors.

She said the baby had been born to mum Tumbili, who was flown to the zoo from San Diego eight months ago, and dad Kizizi.

‘Every birth is special, but this one has been really exciting,’ said Lorna.

‘The baby is quite a confident little one. It comes right up to the window to have a look at visitors.

The baby is still dependent on mum's milk, but will soon learn to peel fruit

‘We’ll check to see if it is a baby boy or a baby girl when it is about three months old, once the baby has started venturing away from mum a bit more. Once we know, we’ll be able to choose a name.’

She added: ‘Tumbili is a great mum, knowing just what to do and being very caring and protective.’

Currently the baby is still dependent on mum’s milk, but in the coming few weeks she will start trying new foods and will learn how to unpeel fruit.

I'm hanging in there mum! The baby clings to mother Tumbili, who arrived at Edinburgh Zoo eight months ago

In the wild L’hoest’s monkeys live in the tropical forests of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, spending most of their time on the forest floor.

Their diet is made up mostly of fruit, leaves, mushrooms and sometimes insects and lizards. They live in social groups usually made up of one dominant male and several related females.

Deforestation and hunting means L’hoest’s monkeys are facing a high risk of extinction in the wild and they are marked as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

Edinburgh Zoo



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