Mother’s Day will be a bit busier than expected for one animal at West Midland Safari Park, as a surprising new arrival has appeared in the Park’s Twilight Cave.
On the morning of 13 March, keepers were astonished to find that the Park’s pair of grey-handed douroucouli (also known as night monkeys or owl monkeys), had given birth to a teeny tiny baby.
The appearance of the minute monkey came as a complete surprise to keepers, as they had no idea that mum, eight-year-old Kyna, was pregnant. Baby douroucouli only weigh a miniscule 3oz at birth, so although the adults are weighed weekly, there was no indication that Kyna was carrying a small passenger!
Head Keeper of the Discovery Trail, Amy Sewell, said, “Finding the cute new baby was a huge surprise for our keepers! My colleague had entered the enclosure and knew that something was different when the male, Ilay, didn’t come down to say hello, as he’s usually very friendly! He then heard some tiny, unusual cries, followed by spotting a very small tail hanging down underneath Ilay’s back.
“Grey-handed night monkeys are listed as ‘vulnerable’ by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), so we are delighted that our two resident douroucouli have had a baby. At present, we don’t know the sex as dad is doing his job and being very protective. From day one, dad will do 90% of carrying the infant and mum will just do the feeding, which is a nice treat on Mother’s Day. We hope all of our guests have just as a relaxing time as Kyna, on Sunday!”
Even though the gender of the baby is yet to be discovered, all animals born at the Park during 2019 have to begin with ‘H’, so keepers are already thinking of names beginning with this letter.
Douroucouli are the world’s only nocturnal monkeys, so live in the Park’s Twilight Cave with their neighbours – free-flying Seba’s short-tailed bats and Rodrigues fruit bats.
They are monogamous (mate for life) and Ilay and Kyna arrived as a breeding pair from Switzerland in 2013. The adorable youngster is one of three baby douroucouli born at the Park, since its parents’ arrival.
The douroucouli can be seen in the Twilight Cave in the Discovery Trail, which is included in the standard admission charge of £24.00 for adults, £19.00 for children aged 3-15 and £22.00 for concessions. Admission includes a Free Return Ticket. Adventure Theme Park rides are charged extra.