Taronga Zoo is in celebration mode following the birth of a rare Francois’ Langur monkey.
The baby, born to mother Meili, has been named Nangua after the Mandarin word for pumpkin.
Francois’ Langur monkeys are born with bright orange and turn black with white cheek markings once they mature. The bright colour is thought to help adults spot and care for infants.
Senior Primate Keeper Jane Marshall says Nangua is getting a lot of attention from his mother and the group’s other females, Noel and Elke. Francois’ Langur monkeys practice allomothering, where other females help to raise a baby.
“Meili has shown her calmness and experience since the birth, cradling and protecting the baby, but also allowing Noel and Elke to get close to him,” said Jane.
“Noel has taken on the role of allomother, carrying the baby about 50 percent of the time. This gives mum a break to eat and rest, but as soon as the baby whimpers she races straight back over to him.”
Once found throughout China and Vietnam, habitat loss and poaching have decimated the Francois’ Langur population with only around 2,000 monkeys left in the wild.
Nangua is Taronga Zoo’s fourth Francois’ Langur birth. The zoo is the only one in Australia to care for these rare primates.