Leicester

Rare Diana monkey born at Twycross Zoo after 29 years

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Media captionA baby Diana monkey is born at Twycross Zoo for the first time in 29 years

A Diana monkey has been born in the UK for the first time in five years.

The three-month-old, who is yet to be named or have its sex confirmed, was born to first-time parents at Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire.

Charlotte MacDonald said the zoo was "really excited" about the birth as it was the first in 29 years at Twycross.

Diana monkeys are endangered in their native West African habitat, where they are under threat from habitat loss and hunting for bushmeat.

Dr MacDonald, director of life sciences at the zoo, said: "Mum is doing a great job rearing her baby and that is evident in the infant's active, playful and exploratory behaviour."

Diana monkeys in captivity

Cercopithecus diana is one of the most threatened primates in the wild

79

Diana monkeys in 22 European zoos

  • 13 Diana monkeys in England

  • 5 of those are at Twycross Zoo

  • 2 Diana monkeys in Edinburgh

Twycross Zoo

The baby lives in a family group of four others, including mother De'Arly and father Manu.

De'Arly, aged 14, came to Twycross Zoo from Newquay Zoo in 2013, and Manu, aged nine, came from Paignton Zoo.

The newborn is part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP).

Image copyright Twycross Zoo
Image caption Diana monkeys are very noisy animals and have a special alarm call for different predators in the forest

Donald Gow, studbook keeper for the Diana monkey and EEP co-ordinator, said: "The birth at Twycross is the first birth in a UK zoo in five years of a Diana monkey and this rare event is great news.

"This birth is a really important boost to the breeding programme and will help ensure the population in zoos keeps growing and stays healthy, which in turn has real significance for their conservation in the wild too."

The last baby Diana monkey to be born in the UK was at Devon's Paignton Zoo in 2011.

Image copyright Twycross Zoo
Image caption The species' name comes from the distinctive white stripe across their thigh, which is thought to resemble the bow of Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt

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