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     FrontPage Edition: Sat 9 September 2006

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Singapore Zoo records 13 successful rare primate births to date

Source: www.zoo.com.sg

SINGAPORE ZOO FURTHER BOOSTS GLOBAL PRIMATE CAPTIVE BREEDING EFFORT WITH BIRTH OF ENDANGERED SUB-SPECIES

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Singapore Zoo, with the largest collection of primate species in the world, has further contributed to the global captive breeding effort of primates.
Since the start of this year, it has bred a total of six baby primates, and the latest additions are a proboscis monkey born on July 10 and a second-generation Douc langur born on August 18.
Other additions included a cotton-top tamarin, a Bornean orang utan and a white-faced saki monkey. All except the white-faced saki monkey are classified as endangered by the World Conservation Union, or IUCN.
Ms Fanny Lai, Executive Director of Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, said: ¡°The births will boost the global captive population of these rare primates. Captive breeding is a cornerstone of the Zoo¡¯s mission to promote bio-diversity and conservation. We will continue to use our expertise in husbandry practice and zoological science to encourage the breeding of endangered species at our parks.¡±
Most number of primate species bred at Singapore Zoo
Among the primate collection at the Singapore Zoo, the orang utan has bred the most number of offspring.
To date, a total of 32 orang utans has been bred successfully. The latest addition is a baby Bornean orang utan, born to parents Binte and Mitra.
To facilitate the breeding of endangered animals, many of the orang utans have been sent to various zoos in Malaysia, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and India as part of the worldwide animal exchange programme.
Another significant primate birth is that of the Douc langurs, one of the most colourful and attractive primates with almond-shaped eyes and delicate facial features.
Douc langurs are found in the rainforests of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Singapore Zoo is currently the only institution outside their country of origin to display and breed them.
To date, a total of 13 successful births have been recorded in Singapore. A male Douc langur was born to parents Kongcha and Ciki in May this year, and another baby born to Kongcha and Nhon on August 18. The sex of this latest addition has yet to be determined.
Manis and Victo
Another interesting feature of the new births are the parents of the baby proboscis monkey born in July. Parents Manis and Victo are two of the most prolific primates in the Zoo.
Manis has given birth to six babies while Victo is now the father of five offspring. The newborn proboscis monkey named Intan has a deep blue face and sparse almost black fur which will change to the adult colours at about three to four months, although its face continues to have a bluish tinge until it is about a year old.
Birth of Rare Cotton-top Tamarin
In February, the Zoo bred a male baby cotton-top tamarin, one of the most endangered primates in the world. It is estimated that there are less than 1,000 of such primates in the wild and about 1,800 in captivity.
Typical of this species, other adults in the group have been taking turns caring for the baby, which attaches itself on the adult¡¯s back for support.
All the babies are out on exhibit in their respective habitats.
About Bornean orang utans
The world¡¯s second largest ape and largest tree-living mammal, the orang utan also means ¡°man of the forest¡± in Malay. It has long arms and short legs, and mature males have a huge throat sac which produces calls to attract females and keep rival males away.
Bornean orang utans have a darker colouring than their Sumatran counterparts. The population of Bornean orang utans is estimated at 55,000. Each year, hundreds of young orang utans are captured and sold as illegal pets.
About proboscis monkeys

Both genders have distinctive, large, fleshy noses, but the nose of the male is larger and more pendulous. The nose swells and turns red when the monkey is enraged or excited. The proboscis monkey eats mainly leaves. They are found only in Borneo in the wild. There are currently 10 male and four female proboscis monkeys at Singapore Zoo.
About Douc langurs
Douc langurs have beautiful golden faces framed by a white ruff, which is considerably fluffier in males. The eyelids are a soft powder blue. The tail is white with a triangle of white hair at the base.
The baby Douc langur has short, downy grey hair, with a dark stripe down the back, and a black face with two pale stripes beneath the eyes. As it grows older, its colouration darkens while its face lightens, achieving adult colours at 10 months. The baby has a gestation period of 165-190 days. Females mature at four years, and males at four to five years.
About white-faced saki monkeys

Living in trees, the white-faced saki monkey is fast moving and shy, hence very little is known about their behaviour in the wild. It moves about by leaping and jumps of 10 metres have been recorded.
The baby is born after a gestation of about 170 days and clings to the mother for the first couple of weeks. It is independent by six months. White-faced saki monkeys live to about 14 years of age in the wild, but up to at least 20 years in captivity.
About cotton-top tamarins
Cotton-top tamarins are one of the smallest and most endangered primates. Seventy-five percent of their original habitat has been lost through deforestation. Cotton-top tamarins generally live in groups of two to 12 in the wild.
In captivity, females can give birth to twins every 28 weeks; in the wild, babies are born once a year. Fathers, brothers and sisters are all observed carrying infants on their back. The early infant care experience is critical for future reproductive success as prenatal care in cotton-tops is not instinctive but learnt.
If an animal is hand-reared or is removed from its family prior to carrying infants on its back, it will not successfully rear its own young.
ISSUED By : Wildlife Reserves Singapore

Source: www.zoo.com.sg News Release 30 Aug 2006

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