Tamarin monkeys born at zoo
Wellington Zoo got a cute surprise early on Friday morning, with the birth of two critically endangered cotton-top tamarins.
First-time parents Celeste and Esteban welcomed the healthy pair after an almost year-long courtship.
Within a few hours of being born, the tiny, furry tamarin babies have been spotted hitching a ride on their parents’ backs.
However, the babies’ sexes will not be known for some time with zoo keepers keen to remain hands-off for as long as possible, Wellington Zoo’s Ash Howell said.
‘‘It’s still early days so the primate team will be keeping a close eye on the new family.’’
Cotton-top tamarins, which are only found in Colombia, share parenting duties so it was likely both Esteban and Celeste would take turns carrying the twins, although Howell said it looked liked the pair already had a favourite. ‘‘The first-time parents are doing extremely well and the babies have been seen clinging to dad’s back.
Tamarin monkeys are critically endangered in the wild and the Wellington Zoo birth gives a much-needed boost to the captive population and international conservation breeding programme.
Before arriving at the zoo a year ago, the two parents had never met with Esteban having come from Blackpool Zoo in the UK and Celeste from Bratislava Zoo in Slovakia.