A critically endangered species of monkey has been born at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, near Doncaster. The birth of the baby Roloway monkey is a first the UK, and a major triumph for the European breeding programme of the rare species.
The new arrival is one of only three babies to be born in zoos around the world this year, and with only 220 estimated to be left in the wild, the Roloway monkey is one of the most endangered primates on earth.
Parents Kayla, four, and Rafiki, six, were introduced to each other at the Park in February when they arrived from France and Germany respectively, and are the only Roloway monkey pair in the UK.
“We have been monitoring Kayla’s pregnancy very carefully ever since we noticed subtle changes in her behaviour’ said Primate Team Leader Greg Clifton.
“Words cannot express how excited we are to have successful birth here at the Park so soon after Kayla and Rafiki were first introduced and especially as they are both first-time parents. They are doing an amazing job. The rangers have been keeping a video diary of the baby day by day and we cannot believe how quickly the youngster has developed. After just a week the baby was already climbing off his mum to explore – under her watchful eye, of course!”
Roloway monkeys are native to Ghana and the Ivory Coast in West Africa. The medium-sized monkeys, part of the guenon family, have striking black and white markings and a distinguished white beard but are on the verge of extinction because of hunting and habitat loss.
Dr. Matt Hartley, Head of Animals added “This is a really important moment for the European breeding programme. This baby is so important for the future of the species which faces extinction every day in the wild, due to deforestation and the bush-meat trade. This species is one of the World’s 25 Most Endangered primates, classed as critically endangered.
“There are only about 200 Roloway monkeys left in the wild and 33 individuals living in zoos around the world, so they face an uncertain future. Yorkshire Wildlife Park’s efforts to preserve one of the most endangered primate species on our planet goes beyond Doncaster as thanks to funding from the Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation, rangers from the park will be taking part in a three-year project in Ghana to support conservation efforts in the wild for this and other critically endangered African primates.”
For information on visiting Yorkshire Wildlife Park go to www.yorkshirewildlifepark.com
Watch footage of the roloway monkey baby here