Belfast Zoo celebrated the birth of an endangered François langur in late 2017 and the little monkey recently made his first appearance for visitors.
The latest arrival has been named Huaidan, meaning ‘rascal’ in Chinese, and joins five more of these stunning leaf-eating primates at Belfast Zoo’s monkey house. Adult François langurs are black in colour with striking white sideburns, while infants are born with ginger fur which changes colour slowly as they mature.
François langurs are found in the tropical forests and limestone hills of China, Vietnam and Laos but face increasing threats and are endangered in their natural habitat. This is mainly due to habitat loss, hunting, traditional medicine and the pet trade. Recent research suggests that the population of this species has declined by at least 50% in the wild, over the past 36 years.
Zoos around the world are working together to ensure the survival of the Francois langur, through an active breeding programme. Andrew Hope, Curator at Belfast Zoo is responsible for co-ordinating the genetic and reproductive management of this captive population, which are living in seven European zoos. The arrival of Huadian is therefore not only a great cause for celebration for Belfast Zoo but also on a much larger scale.
For more information on visiting Belfast Zoo go to www.belfastzoo.co.uk