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Baby boom at Belfast Zoo!

Date: 08 Apr 2020

baby tree kangaroo

We are so pleased to welcome three newborn babies to the zoo; a wolf cub, tree kangaroo and Francois langur monkey.

There has been a baby boom here at the zoo as we welcome a whole host of new arrivals this spring.

Our new additions include a rare Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo joey, a maned wolf cub and a Francois langur baby monkey, which all arrived in recent weeks.

First spotted on 22 October, the Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo joey is a welcome addition to our highly successful breeding programme. Belfast Zoo was the first zoo in the UK and Ireland to breed the Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo. We are currently home to a breeding pair called Jaya and Hasu-Hasu.

Elsewhere in the zoo, breeding success has also seen zoo curator, Andrew Hope, hand raise an incredibly rare Francois langur monkey born on 25 March. This animal is only found in the wild in China and Vietnam, but it is threatened by poachers and loss of habitat in its home countries. There are thought to be only around 3,000 of the monkeys left in the wild. François langurs are managed by a European studbook. Belfast Zoo’s Andrew Hope, holds the studbook for this rare monkey.

Andrew explains, “There are around 116 Francois langurs living in zoos around the world. We have had huge breeding success with the endangered François’s langurs here at Belfast Zoo. Our new baby langur is our fifth to be born here at the zoo. We thought that it was only fitting to name him in honour of the NHS. The name Cầu vồng is Vietnamese for “rainbow” and is a tribute to those working hard in the NHS to keep us all safe.

Not a lot of people know about the Francois langurs as a species of monkey and it is a real privilege to be able to be part of a successful breeding programme which allows us to share these beautiful creatures with the public."

A maned wolf pup is the third new addition to Belfast Zoo and was born on 20 February. The female pup is the offspring of wolf couple Wendy and Logan and her name will be voted for online via a Facebook poll over the Easter holidays.

Zoo curator, Julie Mansell commented, “The maned wolves are a naturally secretive and shy creature so we have been delighted to see our latest pup out in the paddock playing in the grass and enjoying our recent bout of good weather. All maned wolf pups are born black and it will take about a year for the pup to be fully grown, at which time she will develop a thick red coat, long black legs and tall, erect ears.

Ordinarily, Easter is a very popular time for visitors here at the zoo, however as we are temporarily closed to the public, we want to keep our fans involved as much as possible. That’s why we are asking for our Facebook followers for help in naming our new female maned wolf pup. We have shortlisted four names which the public can vote on from Wednesday 15 April through until Friday 17 April."

While these births bring much joy to staff and fans online, their purpose extends much further.
Alyn Cairns, zoo manager, explains, “Belfast Zoo is committed to the conservation of species in danger and we take part in a number of global and collaborative breeding programmes. The work of zoos is becoming ever more vital in ensuring the future survival of species such as these, and we are delighted to play an active role in the conservation efforts. Good zoos are more than simply a place to see animals. We play a vital role in the conservation of species at risk and take part in more than 61 breeding programmes.

These programmes help zoos to collaboratively manage species to provide self-sustaining and genetically healthy ‘safety net’ populations. In fact, without the active work of zoos some species would no longer exist”.