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RED-TITI MONKEY

Plecturocebus cupreus

Red-titi monkeys are diurnal (active during the day) and arboreal (tree dwelling). Pairs spend much of their time huddled together with their tails intertwined.

Interesting fact: Their German name is Springaffen which means jumping monkeys.

Habitat & threats

Primary tropical rain forest. They inhabit particularly remote, inaccessible forest and rarely come down to the ground. They face natural threats from birds of prey who target Red titi monkeys as food.

Diet

Up to 75% of this monkey's diet is fruit, but they also eat leaves, seeds and insects. Females eat more insects when nursing offspring as their protein requirements increase. Insects are the best source available. They prefer to search for their food in the lower parts of the rain forest canopy.

Breeding and social dynamics

Titi monkey pairs mate for life and spend much of their time grooming each other. They have an elaborate system of communication that includes vocal, visual, olfactory (smelling) and tactile gestures. A family consists of a breeding pair and their offspring. The female only gives birth to one infant at a time after a gestation period of 155 days.

Conservation

Part of a managed European breeding programme.

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Ring-tailed lemur

Lemur catta

Of all the lemurs, ring-tailed lemurs spend the most time on the ground. They get their name from the black and white bands on the tail, which is used for communication.

Interesting fact: Males have “stink fights” by covering their tails in scent from their wrist glands and wafting them at each other!

Habitat & threats:

Living in the drier regions of southern Madagascar the ring-tailed lemur inhabits a varied range from gallery forests to dry spiny scrub. These habitats are under pressure in southern Madagascar and continue to decrease in size due to annual burning practices that help create new pasture for livestock.

Diet:

A mixture of fruits, leaves, flowers and sap. During much of the year up to 50% of their diet is from the Tamarind tree. They are known to eat bark, earth and even spiders' webs particularly in the dry season when food is scarce.

Breeding and social dynamics:

A group of ring-tailed lemurs is known as a troop and can number up to 30 animals lead by one dominant female. The troop sleep grouped in a tight huddle, this improves social bonds and is also good protection. Females are receptive for only 24 hours once a year and usually have a single baby after a gestation period of about 145 days. Occasionally twins are born. At first infants cling underneath the mother, riding on her back when they are older.

Conservation:

In 2014 ring-tailed lemurs were announced as Endangered as their wild populations are highly fragmented and their habitat continues to be destroyed for agriculture and timber harvesting. There are now estimated to be less than 2,500 of them left in the wild and there are now more in zoos across the world than left in Madagascar. This species is part of a managed European breeding programme.

 
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YELLOW-BREASTED CAPUCHIN

Sapajus xanthosternos

The Yellow-breasted capuchin has lost over 80 percent of its population during the past 50 years. It is estimated that only about 300 individuals survive in the wild.

Interesting fact: The name capuchin is derived from the word “Capuche” which was the skull cap worn by Franciscan monks.

Habitat & threats:

Primary and secondary rainforest. Deforestation within their limited range makes it hard for isolated groups of capuchins to disperse. The Yellow-breasted capuchin is also trapped for the pet trade and hunted for meat by local people.

Diet:

Their diet is predominantly made up of fruit, leaves and seeds. Only a small part of their natural diet is made up of live prey but they will spend time hunting for insects, birds and eggs.

Breeding and social dynamics:

They live in multi male and female groups with one male being dominant to all others. These capuchins stay in touch by communicating vocally with each other using barks, growls, screams, whistles and chattering. Youngsters take 12 months to wean.

Conservation:

This species is among the rarest South American primates. Shaldon Wildlife Trust supports in-situ research in the forests of Brazil studying their behaviour and biology. Part of a managed European breeding programme.

 
 
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GREY SLENDER LORIS

Loris lydekkerianus

The Grey slender loris has a large range, across India and Sri Lanka, and is the most wide-spread of loris species. They are nocturnal and spend the nights wandering the forest looking for food. Unlike the slow lorises, slender lorises are not venomous.

Habitat & threats:

Grey slender lorises live in a wide range of forested habitats. Their main threat is habitat fragmentation as human populations expand into the forests, breaking it up and making it more difficult for lorises to come together to breed.

Diet:

Using their excellent eyesight and sense of smell grey slender lorises are masters at catching insects and other invertebrates which make up most of their diet. They will also occasionally eat fruit, plant shoots and tree sap.

Breeding and social dynamics:

A female mates with multiple males when she is fertile, to ensure her offspring get the best genes possible. Pregnancy lasts 165 days with an equal chance of a single offspring or twins.

 
 
 
 
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COMMON SQUIRREL MONKEY

Saimiri sciureus

Squirrel monkeys are noisy and constantly on the move, often following groups of capuchin monkeys. In the wild, these two species help each other by keeping a look out for predators and with finding food.

Interesting fact: Squirrel monkeys urinate on their hands and rub it on their tails, which is a scent marking technique called “urine washing”.

Habitat & threats:

The Squirrel monkey’s habitat is primarily within the Amazon basin. They prefer to be high in the canopy although they do occasionally come to ground. Birds of prey and snakes are natural predators but huge numbers have been trapped for the pet trade and for medical research.

Diet:

Squirrel monkeys spend much of the day looking for a wide variety of foods including; nectar and seeds, tree frogs, insects, bird's eggs, snails, lizards, fruit, and occasionally freshwater crabs.

Breeding and social dynamics:

Groups can number as many as 100 animals in areas of undisturbed forest with 20 - 30 being more common. Family groups are a mixture of males and females. After a gestation of between 150-160 days one offspring is born.

Females undertake all childcare duties. The majority of females remain with their family group when they become adult while most of the males will leave when they reach maturity and form sub-groups.

Conservation:

Part of a managed European breeding programme.

 
 
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GOLDEN LION TAMARIN

Leontopithecus rosalia

This striking primate is one of five species of Lion tamarin, all of which are at threat from extinction in the wild.

Interesting fact: All lion tamarins have long fingers and sharp claws to help them catch grubs and bugs in the trees.

Habitat & threats:

The only place in the world where they live is near the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in the lowland portion of the Serra do Mar Atlantic Forest. Today, less than 2% of their original habitat remains. Golden lion tamarins are an adaptable species and are able to live in degraded and secondary forests providing there is enough food and tree holes for them to sleep in.

Diet:

They feed on fruit, nectar from pods and tree sap. They also hunt for a variety of insects which they find in vine tangles, ferns and leaf litter held within tree branches and boughs. This species will eat gum and sap as part of their diet however unlike many other tamarins this is rare.

Breeding and social dynamics:

Golden lion tamarins live in family groups of around 6 animals. Following a gestation of between 125-130 days the female will normally give birth to twins and, as with many tamarins, older siblings and the male will take turns in baby-sitting.

Conservation:

Between 1984 and 2001, 41 zoos from across the world reintroduced 146 golden lion tamarins into protected areas of Brazil. There is an ongoing managed European breeding programme for this species in case reintroductions are ever needed again.

 
 
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PYGMY SLOW LORIS

Nycticebus pygmaeus

The pygmy slow loris is the smallest member of the slow loris family. Unlike many other primates pygmy slow lorises can’t jump! The pygmy slow loris moves around the forest always holding onto branches: they have hands specially adapted for this and have incredible core strength for reaching and leaning.

Habitat & threats:

The pet trade has had a huge impact on the number of pygmy slow lorises in the wild. Although it is illegal to remove them from the forest and trade in them, the laws designed to keep them in place are very hard to enforce and often are not. Lorises are a very sought after ingredient in traditional medicines and are taken in huge numbers from their natural habitat.

Diet:

Their diet is varied and seasonal, consisting mainly of plant exudates such as gums and resins, but also nectar, fruits, insects, bark and bird egg. In winter when food is scarcer pygmy slow lorises conserve energy by reducing movement, often to the point of complete inactivity.

Slow lorises are the only poisonous primates. When they lick a gland on their inner elbow and it mixes with their saliva it creates venom similar to the cat allergen; research is ongoing into this fascinating defence mechanism.

Breeding and social dynamics:

Pygmy slow lorises are normally encountered alone, or in small groups of two to four individuals. Males use scent marking to defend territories and mark their boundaries. Females prefer to mate with males whose scent is familiar.

Conservation:

This species is part of a managed European breeding programme.

 
 
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COTTON-TOP TAMARIN

Saguinus oedipus

Cotton-top tamarins are one of the most endangered species of primate in the world. Numbers in the wild may be as few as 6000 animals.

Habitat & threats:

They are found in regions of humid tropical forest at an elevation ranging from 200m-1000m. Roads and agriculture threaten the remaining habitat of the tamarin. They have an extremely limited distribution, occurring in north western Columbia between the Atrato and the Magdalena Rivers.

Diet:

Their diet is highly seasonal, correlating with the rainy season when most trees are fruiting. When fruit is scarce, the proportion of gums, nectar and insects in the diet increases. With fruit making up the largest portion of the diet, cotton-top tamarins may be important seed dispersers in the rainforest.

Breeding and social dynamics:

The cotton-top tamarin is a very social primate that normally lives in groups of two to nine individuals, but family groups may reach up to 13 members. The dominant female usually gives birth to twins, which the rest of the group help to rear. This is known as cooperative breeding.

Conservation:

This species is part of a managed European breeding programme.

 
 
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GENTLE LEMUR

Hapalemur alaotrensis

Listed as Critically Endangered, the range of this lemur species is significantly less than 500 acres. The entire wild population exists at a single location!

Interesting fact: This is the only primate known to man that lives exclusively in a marshland habitat!

Habitat & threats:

Gentle lemurs are found only in the isolated marshland areas surrounding Lake Alaotra in Madagascar. They travel through the reed beds by climbing to the top of tall reeds and catching hold of the next reed as it sways under their weight or by short leaps. They are seriously threatened by human activity. Habitat destruction is causing significant shrinkage to their very limited range of marshland home and they are also hunted for bush meat.

Diet:

They have a very specialised diet consisting of only four grass varieties. Because of this, we feed them a specialised pellet food in captivity and a variety of leafy browse items.

Breeding and social dynamics:

They live in small groups, only one adult male within the group breeds but more than one female can give birth in the same season. Twins are not uncommon and gestation is about 145 days. The young are carried in the mouth and are 'parked' in dense grass for short periods of time until they are strong enough to be carried piggy-back style.

Conservation:

Lake Aloatra was declared a protected site in 2007 and works by zoos have expanded this area in recent years. Local public awareness campaigns have focused on the benefits of conserving the Lake and its wetland areas connecting with a half million or more people who live by the lake. This species is part of a managed European breeding programme.

 
 
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GREY-LEGGED DOUROUCOULI

Aotus griseimembra

These small monkeys, from South America, are the world’s only nocturnal monkey and are most active in the early hours and later in the day, leaving their sleeping sites after sunset and returning before sunrise.

Habitat & threats

They live in many forest types from secondary to cloud forests high in the mountains. They were captured for experiments into malaria in the 1960s and are now threatened from habitat loss.

Diet

In the wild their diet consists mainly of fruits, with some leaves and flowers and a wide variety of nocturnal insects. This means that they are omnivorous.

Breeding and social dynamics

Only one infant is born each year. The male is the primary caregiver, and the mother only carries the infant for the first week or so of its life and for nursing, the rest of the time is spent on the father. The youngster becomes independent at about five months of age and is weaned by seven months. They are socially monogamous, living in small groups of an adult pair and offspring of different ages.

Conservation

This species is part of a European endangered species breeding programme.

 
 
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GREY MOUSE LEMUR

Microcebus murinus

Mouse lemurs are found on the island of Madagascar and are the world’s smallest primate. They are nocturnal and all foraging, hunting of insects and social activities take place at night. Mouse lemurs move by leaping from tree to tree but are known to come to ground to catch insects.

Females are dominant in all situations and males and females sleep in separate groups only coming together for the breeding season. Mouse lemurs have special teeth formation (dentition) specifically for grooming, which is a very important social activity.

Habitat & threats:

Mouse lemurs are one of the lesser threatened lemur species. It is suggested that because they are so small and have such a varied diet, they find it easier to thrive. A number are lost to the illegal pet trade every year and they face the same threat of habitat loss as all native Madagascan species.

Diet:

They are omnivorous, and favour fruit and insects for the bulk of their diet. Nectar is also a part of the grey mouse lemur's diet, making it a potential pollinator for plant species.

Breeding and social dynamics:

Mouse lemurs prefer to forage alone at night but will come together in small groups to sleep through the day. Females tend to share nests with other females and their offspring, whereas males tend to sleep alone or in pairs outside of the breeding season. Males will compete for females to mate with before the breeding season which is September to October. Females give birth to 2-3 offspring after a pregnancy of just 60 days.

 
 
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PIED TAMARIN

Saguinus bicolour

Also known as bare-faced tamarins. The Pied tamarin has one of the smallest ranges of any primate and is now thought to be one of the most endangered monkeys in the forests of the Amazon.

Interesting fact: As well as climbing with sharp claws, Pied tamarins can leap great distances from tree to tree.

Habitat & threats:

Found only in and around the city of Manaus, some are now isolated in tiny fragments of forest within the city. They occur only in dense tropical forest. There are still Pied tamarins in continuous forest north of the city, but another species, the more common Red-handed tamarin is now threatening to take over their small territory.

Diet:

Like other tamarins, they eat a variety of foods including fruit, nectar, tree sap and animal prey such as insects and bird's eggs.

Breeding and social dynamics:

Pied tamarins are very territorial and live in family groups of mother, father and offspring. Twins are usually born and carried by the male and brothers and sisters. They all sleep together in a tangle of vines or hollows of trees.

Conservation:

Part of a managed European breeding programme as well as an international effort to protect them in their natural range.

 
 
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PYGMY MARMOSET

Cebuella pygmaea

Pygmy marmosets are the world’s smallest monkey; males weigh just over 100g, the females are slightly larger weighing just over 122g and new-borns are only 16g!

Interesting fact: Despite its size, the Pygmy marmoset can leap several metres!

Habitat & threats:

Forest near rivers, edges of agricultural fields and bamboo thickets where there is only limited human activity. Much of this primate’s habitat is under considerable threat from deforestation to make way for agriculture.

Diet:

Mostly exudates such as tree saps and gums although fruit, nectar and insect prey are also eaten. Nearly 65% of the diet is from exudates and they gouge holes in the bark of many trees to keep a constant supply of tree sap. Marmosets have specially adapted teeth for this task, it has been recorded that they can gouge over 1700 holes in 6 months. They spend most of their life in the trees but will come to the ground to catch grasshoppers.

Breeding and social dynamics:

Monogamous family groups of one male and one female with several sets of youngsters but groups can be as large as 15 animals or more. The female will normally give birth to twins after around 130 days of pregnancy. The dominant male will not allow any of the younger males to mate with the breeding female.

 
 
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RED-BELLIED LEMUR

Eulemur rubriventer

Male and female Red-bellied lemurs differ from each other in appearance, they are both mostly dark brown, but the female has creamy white underparts and the male has small ‘teardrop’ shaped patches under his eyes.

Habitat & threats:

It is thought to be one of the rarest species in the family of Eulmur, but despite this it is commonly kept in captivity. Habitat loss due to slash and burn agriculture and deforestation, logging and hunting are their main threats. Approximately 90 per cent of Madagascan natural forest has been destroyed since human occupation on the island.

Diet:

In the wild the Red-bellied lemur has a diet which includes fruit, plant species, flowers, leaves and invertebrates.

Breeding and social dynamics:

Red-bellied lemurs usually live in family groups . As with all lemurs it is the female that is dominant, leading the group as they forage for food. As they feed, one of the group will be the lookout for any danger, rather like our meerkats! The female will carry an infant on her tummy and then her back, as it gets older the male takes on parental duties until the infant becomes independent.

Conservation:

They are part of an EEP, European Endangered Species Programme.

 
 
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RED-RUFFED LEMUR

Varecia rubra

One of the 25 most endangered primates in the world, red-ruffed lemurs are in serious danger of becoming extinct. Found in a very small area of Madagascar, this lemur needs the help of zoos to protect its future.

Interesting fact: The ruffed lemur's thick coat keeps it warm and dry in the rainy season.

Habitat & threats:

Primary rain forest in the upper canopy, they prefer high forest and are often observed in the crowns of large fruiting trees. Natural predators are Fossa, Goshawk and two mongoose species. Their most significant threat is man who hunts them for bush meat and causes serious habitat loss. They are reliant on the largest trees in undisturbed forest which are the first choice of loggers. As a result, they are the first to be affected by deforestation with few areas of mature forest left.

Diet:

Fruit, young shoots and leaves. They are important seed dispersers. Ruffed lemurs pass seeds in their droppings within 2 hours of eating fruit.

Breeding and social dynamics:

They live in large family groups ruled by a dominant female. Twins are normally born and infants are “parked” for the first week in a nest. Instead of clinging on like many lemurs, baby ruffed lemurs are carried in their mother’s mouth. Both males and females care for the young.

Conservation:

It is protected officially only within the Masoala National Park and the Makira Protected Area. However, Masoala was the national park most heavily impacted by the very rapid upsurge of illegal logging after the political events of early 2009. This species is part of a managed European breeding programme.

 
 
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