Primates…and a polar bear!
October 28, 2009 § 5 Comments
This week has seen lots of changes for the primates at Edinburgh Zoo. Read on to find out more about which of our species have been making the news! And of course, we couldn’t forget to update you on our favourite polar bear, Mercedes, and how she is settling in at the Highland Wildlife Park!
We are pleased to announce that Mercedes, the polar bear was released into her main enclosure for the first time on Tuesday 20th October. Despite all our cautiousness, Mercedes herself seems to have taken her big move all in her stride. She was ready to explore her new surroundings early Tuesday morning, after a very smooth move on Monday. And boy, has she been making the most of her new enclosure! She has been spotted by both the public and media alike, roaming around her new surroundings, rolling in the grass and swimming in her pool! She has apparently also been startled by a few rabbits! This is perhaps something of a new entity to her. And despite her timidness around small rodents, her mere presence has put all the surrounding hoofed animals on high alert, although she appears oblivious to them!
We are thrilled that after such a long stay at Edinburgh, she has responded so well to the change in her surroundings. We can’t wait to see how she reacts to the first heavy snow fall now!
Last morning at Edinburgh Zoo – Mercedes obviously didn’t see the need to scrub up for her big move!
Being lifted onto the lorry
Keeping a curious eye out!
Leaving the zoo
On the road, heading north
Arriving at Highland Wildlife Park
Touching down in her new home
Exploring her off-show area for the first time
Looking surprisingly relaxed after such a big day!
Plenty of images and footage of Mercedes in her on-show enclosure have now been released by the media. An internet search should bring up lots of great viewing!
We are pleased to announce that the brown capuchins at Living Links have recently welcomed two new babies into their groups. First, 6 year old Sylvania from the ‘West Group’ gave birth on the 7th September. She is a second-time mum, after giving birth to a male named Mekoe just last year. We are sure that Mekoe will be glad to have a young sibling to play with! All the west capuchins have had a good look at the baby, and will know by now whether it is a boy or a girl. However, the keepers are still waiting to get a good enough view of the new youngster to tell the gender, and then give the baby a name. We will keep you posted on this once we have more information.
Sylvie’s mother and matriarch of the group, 14 year old Lana then gave birth to another youngster on 21st October. This is Lana’s 6th baby, making her a brilliant role-model mum for Sylvie! We look forward to seeing the babies growing up and eventually playing together over the following months.
Meanwhile, over the fence in the ‘East Group’, Chico has reached six months old and has become one of the most playful and popular monkeys in the zoo. He does not have another baby to play with in his group, but fortunately his brother Carlos, and the super-playful Kato have enough time on their hands to spend hours wrestling with Chico outside!
Baby boom at Living Links!
Next in line are the squirrel monkeys at Living Links. Squirrel monkeys are seasonal breeders, so all our adult females are likely to give birth between now and the New Year. With so many expectant mothers in the group, the keepers are going to have their hands full looking after so many babies! They successfully reared 9 youngsters in total last year, so we shall have to see if they can beat this record this time round. Stay posted for more on this!
The squirrel monkeys will be next!
Many of our primates, will also be seeing some changes in their surroundings over the next couple of weeks. All of our ring-tailed lemurs will be leaving Edinburgh Zoo for far-flung destinations such as China! We have decided to stop keeping this iconic lemur species, in favour of two new species; the red-bellied lemur and the mongoose lemur. There are over 2,500 of the near-threatened ring-tailed lemurs in captivity worldwide! Edinburgh Zoo has therefore decided to focus its conservation breeding efforts on lesser known lemur species, in greater need of attention. There are currently only around 100 red-bellied lemurs in captivity, and 100 mongoose lemurs in captivity. These two species are also more threatened than ring-tailed lemurs, having been classified by the IUCN red list as ‘vulnerable’.
All of our ring-tailed lemurs will be moved to other zoos under the recommendations of the European studbook keeper, and we hope that they will settle in to their new homes well. Why not pop into the zoo over the next couple of weeks to wave them goodbye?!
Finally, one of our mature yellow-breasted capuchin males, 16 year old Fabio, will also be leaving the collection in early November for Colchester Zoo. This is under recommendations of the European Endangered Species Program (a higher level of captive species management than the European studbook). Fabio may sound like he’s getting on a bit for a monkey, but yellow-breasted capuchins often live to over 30 years old in captivity, and do not mature until around 8 years old. Fabio still has many years left ahead of him, and will most likely continue to breed in his new home. We wish him all the best!
In return, another mature male named ‘Little Man’ will be arriving at Edinburgh from Colchester Zoo, as well as a breeding female from Vallee des Singes, to be paired with the new male. These new additions should help to boost breeding efforts for this species at Edinburgh Zoo, as well as ensuring that the captive population is genetically diverse, and preventing any in-breeding. This is particularly important for this critically endangered species, which has suffered an estimated 80% decrease in their wild population size over the last 3 years.
The new arrivals will no doubt provide some enrichment for our resident group of one mature female, four younger males and one younger female! We will keep you posted on how the introductions go, and when you can expect to see the new pair on show.
The highly intelligent yellow breasted capuchin