Exmoor Zoo have something very special to celebrate. Just after the first lockdown in 2020 a young and very weird, shaggy female saki monkey called “Diego” arrived from Marwell Zoo (in Hampshire) to keep “Juno” our lone German Saki monkey company.
They are now proud parents! A successful birth has given them an equally cute and very shaggy baby! The zoo has kept this secret for a while, until the baby was sufficiently strong to be able to cling onto mum as they run around their enclosure.
In the wild, Saki monkeys are a tree dwelling species which live in Brazil and Guyana travelling through dense rainforest searching for nuts & fruits! Many eagles would enjoy them for dinner including the world’s largest and strongest, the martial eagle. The quantities of rain and the need to be not seen has led to their long shaggy hair.
Tina Rowtcliff their keeper said: “We have had to wait 147 days to meet this little monkey and are delighted that mum and baby are both doing well. Mum should be carrying the little one for another 4 months and then the colour of the fur will either stay like mum’s or darken to look like dad’s”. Saki monkeys do not reach maturity until 3 years of age and will stay with the family and help raise their brothers or sisters. A family group can consist of up to twelve individuals!
This is what scientists call a neotropical primate and with the fast-disappearing Amazon rainforest it has become yet another of the worlds threatened species. They are primarily maintained in captivity in conservation programmes and Exmoor Zoo is lucky to be one of these and be able to exhibit and breed this shy forest dweller for our visitors to see!