Long live the new King of Paignton Zoo!
THERE has been a royal birth at Paignton Zoo.
The king colobus monkey was born on October 3, and photographed just a few days later by Paignton Zoo volunteer photographer Ray Wiltshire.
The new baby's father Martin was born in 1997, while mother Ivy was born in 2002. This is their fourth baby together.
A king colobus at birth weighs under a kilo; the sex is currently unknown – the first vet check is not due until the youngster is at least six months old.
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A single youngster is born after a gestation of around 180 days. Pure white at birth, it develops black markings at one month.
The new arrival brings the Zoo’s troop up to six - as well as Martin and Ivy there’s Harper, Squidge and Lola.
The new arrival is important, as Paignton Zoo Curator of Mammals Neil Bemment explained.
He said: "There are only six collections in Europe holding king colobus, so the birth is special as we and EAZA - the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria - want this population to grow.”
The species is listed by the IUCN as Vulnerable. It is threatened by habitat destruction and hunting for food. There is a European zoos' Endangered species Programme.
It is a monkey of forest and wooded grassland, eating mainly leaves. It can often be seen sitting quietly while it digests this low-value food in its unusually large stomach. Colobus monkeys spend their lives in the tree-tops. Four long fingers on each forelimb grasp branches like hooks.