May Babies Born at Monkey Forest
03 May 2013
Spring has arrived at Trentham Monkey Forest, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, with new buds and baby Barbary macaques all coming at once. Staff at the forest were taken by complete surprise with the births of not one, but two babies on the same day, May 2nd.
“This is a lovely time of year for us” commented Primatologist and Monkey Forest Director, Sue Wiper. “We have several babies each year but to have two in one day is unusual and exciting. We celebrate every birth as a very positive step in our conservation programme for this endangered species.”
Visitors to the forest will be able to glimpse the babies holding on to their mother’s tummies where they keep warm and fed. They start to take their first tentative steps at around 2-3 weeks old. Barbary macaque babies are born to their mothers after a gestation period of five and a half months. It is not possible to tell who the fathers are as female Barbary macaques are highly promiscuous in the mating season, however the males seek out the babies to hold and look after - an unusual trait in primates.
With 3 new births and more eagerly awaited, both Monkey Forest staff and visitors will be on the lookout for more additions to the forest’s 140 resident monkeys.
For more information, contact Monkey Forest on 01782 659845 or visit the website.
Notes for editors:
The Barbary macaque baby factfile:
- Their black fur grows brown as it gets towards Autumn to better protect them from the cold weather
- There is only 1 baby born to its mother each year, twins are very rare
- The babies drink their mother’s milk for 6 months and start to try solid food when they are about 6 weeks
- They take their first tentative steps at about 2 weeks - often hopping like a frog!
- Barbary macaque babies are normally born during the night in the trees
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Background: Based on the de Turkheim family’s hugely successful European parks, Trentham Monkey Forest opened in 2005 and provides guests with a unique insight into a highly endangered species. The animals live freely in a setting similar to their natural habitat in Morocco. Visitors to Trentham can observe them at very close quarters.
About Trentham: Trentham Monkey Forest is situated on the 750 acre Trentham Estate where there is an abundance of activities for all the family from lovely Italian Gardens, boutique shops and stunning lake to treetop adventures at Aerial Extreme.