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Summer baby boom for Longleat

Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire are enjoying a summer baby boom as they welcome 20 monkeys, three rare Chinese deer, marmoset twins and two reindeer calves.

There have been so many new rhesus monkey arrivals in recent weeks that even the dominant male, known as Phil, has taken to helping out with babysitting duties.

Found throughout south east Asia and across the Indian subcontinent, rhesus monkeys thrive in a wide variety of habitats and climates. In some parts of India they are believed to be sacred and have lived in close contact with humans for centuries – particularly in and around Buddhist and Hindu temples.

The black-tailed marmoset twins, who are native to Brazil, weighed less than 40 grams each when they were born and can spend up to the first six months of their lives clinging to the backs of their parents.

Marmosets do not always breed successfully so keepers at the Wiltshire attraction are delighted with how well the pair are doing. Unusually for primates, females nearly always give birth to non-identical twins.

Keepers are also celebrating the arrival of a trio of Pere David’s fawns. Originally from China, there were just 18 left in the world at one point, but following successful breeding programmes they have been reintroduced to their Chinese homeland, but are still regarded as under threat.

The Safari Park has also welcomed another new arrival in the shape of two tiny reindeer calves, who will go on to play a key role in Longleat’s Christmas celebrations; welcoming visitors to Santa’s woodland grotto.

Longleat’s Ian Turner said: “It’s already been a good year for births here and it seems like the trend is continuing into the summer.

“Earlier in the season we had three baby oryx and two baby giraffes born.

“It’s particularly pleasing so many different species are breeding and is a really good sign they‘re happy and healthy,” he added.

For more information on visiting Longleat go to

Rhesus monkeys

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