At only three weeks old, a tiny endangered François’ langur monkey that was rejected by his mum is firmly clinging on to life (and his teddy bear) thanks to the efforts of surrogate mum, zookeeper Kate Sanders.
At only three weeks old, a tiny endangered monkey that was rejected by his mum is firmly clinging on to life – and his teddy bear.
The miniature 4″ François’ langur monkey was rejected by mum Lee Lee after his birth at ZSL London Zoo, and is now being looked after by surrogate mum, zookeeper Kate Sanders.
Born on the day the Olympic torch route was announced, zookeepers couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw his bright orange head and black body – which they thought made him look just like the Olympic torch.
They named him Flame in honour of his special birthday and unusual colouring (the species is usually black all over, except for distinct white sideburns), and after three weeks of intensive care they are confident he’ll be around for 2012 and beyond.
Kate is still nurturing the baby langur with the help of a monkey teddy which the youngster clings onto. The teddy acts as a substitute monkey mum and will make it easier for keepers to reintroduce Flame to his real family.
The world’s population of François’ langurs (Trachypithecus francoisi) has halved in the last 40 years due to habitat loss and hunting. Listed as endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, François’ langurs are widespread but their populations are highly fragmented and isolated.
It is believed there are just over 1,000 left in the wild.
Kate said: “Francois langurs are extremely endangered so Flame is a very precious monkey – he looks like a torch and he’s a beacon of hope for his species.
“Like any newborn Flame needs to be fed throughout the night. I’ve been staying at the zoo to feed him milk every one and a half hours – so I’ve not had much sleep.
Kate adds: “We’re planning to reintroduce him to his mum Lee Lee, dad Neo and his other housemates in the next few months when he’s a little bigger. But at the moment we’re keeping Flame warm in his incubator.”
- Founded in 1826, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity. For further information visit www.zsl.org