A seventh weeper capuchin monkey, an animal included on the list of endangered species, has been born at the Moscow Zoo. The monkey, born on 29 August, has so far been spending all its time with its mother, clinging tightly to her and hiding its face in her thick fur at the slightest sign of danger.
At the age of only three weeks, the baby will separate from its mother and begin to explore the world independently, as well as trying adult food. For the time being it is breastfed. At four months, the young monkey will be running about on its own, climbing trees and playing. However, babies stay in close contact with their mothers until 12 months.
“The baby now weighs around 150 grams. We don’t know the gender yet. In a couple of weeks, zoologists plan to examine the baby to make sure it is completely healthy. We will also be able to find out its sex and name it then,” said Director General of the Moscow Zoo Svetlana Akulova.
The Moscow Zoo now has one of the largest weeper capuchin monkey families in captivity. It is a family of seven, with grandmother Smolli, parents Nori and Matros and their four offspring.
The newborn and its parents have been separated from the rest of the group and for now they are living in an open-cage beyond a fence. This is due to a curious characteristic of female capuchin monkeys. Older or dominant females can often take babies away from younger ones. After a certain amount of time, the whole family will be reunited again. Visitors can see the baby and its many relatives in the Monkey House Pavilion.
Weeper capuchin is included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. There is a continued annual decline in the population of these monkeys, which originate from the tropical woods of South America to the north of the Amazon River. The main cause is deforestation which destroys the species’ natural habitat. Another factor affecting the capuchin population is illegal trafficking and poaching. For the past 20 years, these monkeys have been very popular as exotic pets.
Like other members of the Cebidae family, weeper capuchins are hyperactive, always moving around, and very intelligent. These dexterous animals are known for their creativity and ability to think outside the box when searching for food. They use sticks to get termites and ants from holes, stones to crack nuts and they wipe or rinse dirty fruit before eating.
The first capuchins were brought to the Moscow Zoo in 2000. Soon the specialists created appropriate conditions for them to breed. Capuchins need a temperature of at least 23 degrees, high humidity and a lot of light. The primates also follow a special diet with lots of ripe fruit, protein (chicken, cottage cheese), vegetables and insects. They also receive certain mineral supplements and vitamins, in particular, vitamin D3, a lack of which can cause serious fatigue.
In August, 2018, a baby Bornean orangutan moved to the Moscow Zoo from Novosibirsk. For now, the little one is in quarantine but soon it will be seen in the Monkey House in the new section of the zoo. In May, a Japanese macaque was born at the zoo. Visitors can observe the moving relationship between the mother and her baby in the area near the pedestrian bridge in the old section.
The Moscow Zoo tries to expand its collection on a regular basis. Right now, it has more than a 1,000 species and 8,000 animals. This year’s additions to the zoo include two Amur tigers. In 2017, the zoo got its first exotic aardvark and three pairs of gentoo penguins.
Before the end of the year, rare Madagascar fossas will be brought to the zoo. Also, for the first time in 30 years, a secretarybird will be added to the family.