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New arrival brings ‘HOPE’ for species

Date: 14 Mar 2016

New arrival brings ‘HOPE’ for species

Belfast Zoo’s latest arrival has brought ‘hope’ for a species facing increasing threat in the wild.

On 3 February 2016, a François’ langur, named Xiwang (meaning ‘hope’ in Chinese), was born to parents Ajay and Nicolene.

Belfast Zoo’s François’ langurs live in the monkey house at the Cave Hill site. These primates typically live in small family groups consisting of one adult male, a ‘harem’ of adult females and their offspring. All females in the group take an active interest in the care of the infant and the females in the group often ‘babysit’ to allow the mother to rest and eat.

Zoo curator, Andrew Hope, said “I am delighted with the latest arrival to the monkey house and this little ‘red head’ is already becoming very popular with staff and visitors alike. Adult François’ langurs are black in colour with striking white sideburns. However, newborns are born ginger and their colour changes slowly as they mature.”

François’ langurs are found in the tropical forests and limestone hills of China, Vietnam and Laos but they are facing increasing threats and are endangered in their natural habitat. Research suggests that the species has declined by at least 50%, over the past 36 years, due to habitat loss and hunting. In 2003, it was estimated that there are less than 500 of these langurs in Vietnam and only 1,400 in China.

Zoo curator Andrew Hope, continues “Our latest arrival has been named Xiwang, which means ‘hope’ in Chinese. We picked this name as, although things are looking bleak for this primate in the wild, we support a number of conservation programmes working tirelessly to protect the remaining populations. Zoos around the world are also working collaboratively, to ensure the future survival of this species, through an active breeding programme. François’ langurs are particularly close to my heart and I am extremely proud to be the studbook keeper for the François’ langur breeding programme. This means that I am responsible for co-ordinating the genetic and reproductive management of the captive population, living in seven European zoos. Xiwang’s arrival is not only something for Belfast Zoo to celebrate as the new arrival has brought hope to the species as a whole and we are delighted to be playing such an active role in the conservation of the François’ langur.

You can see more photos of all of the latest arrivals at www.facebook.com/belfastzoo

Find out more about François langur.

Adopt your favourite animal at Belfast Zoo.

Belfast Zoo curator, Andrew Hope, is also working to raise awareness and funds for this species. Support his work at www.justgiving.com/Andrew-Hope7