Birth of endangered monkey hailed
Published 17/05/2011 | 12:18
A critically-endangered baby black lion tamarin is the first to have been bred outside Brazil for eight years - after being delivered by Caesarean section.
The male infant, born at Durrell wildlife park in Jersey, has been named Francisco after the head of the veterinary department who delivered him.
Durrell said the successful live birth was "incredibly important" for the European programme to breed the critically-endangered species.
Francisco is the first healthy baby born to mother Roxanne, who had previously lost two babies and suffered several miscarriages, which led to the decision to monitor her four-and-a-half month pregnancy and deliver the youngster by Caesarean section.
The new arrival brings the number of black lion tamarins at Durrell to nine. He is currently being hand-reared and fed every two hours throughout the day and night and keepers will teach him to lap milk from a dish over the next few weeks before he is returned to his family.
Mark Brayshaw, head of Durrell's animal collection, said: "This birth is great news; monitoring and successfully delivering the baby has been a very tricky event to manage.
"The importance of this is that it is the first live birth of a black lion tamarin in captivity outside Brazil for eight years and thus incredibly important to the European endangered species programme."
Black lion tamarins were bred for the first time outside their native Brazil at Durrell in 1990.
According to the wildlife conservation trust, the tiny monkeys have only 3% of their natural habitat remaining, in fragments of forest which are too small to sustain viable populations and without conservation action they are likely to die out.
Work in Brazil involves mixing wild and captive-bred tamarins, research and protection of the remaining forest.