Marwell Celebrates Birth of Critically Endangered Primate

August 25, 2015

Guests visiting Marwell are in for a treat as they can watch a new adorable primate infant find its feet.

The critically endangered Sulawesi-crested macaque was born on Tuesday 28 July to mum, Drusilla and dad, Douglas. This is the first macaque born at Marwell for 10 years.

Sulawesi-crested macaques (Macaca nigra) are the most endangered of the seven macaque species found on the island of Sulawesi. In the wild they live in tropical rainforests and mangrove swamp areas on the Northern Peninsula of the Indonesian island. These animals face many threats in the wild; one of them is over hunting for food, as they are considered a delicacy in areas of Sulawesi.

Claire Mound, Team Leader for Primates and Small Mammals said: “We expect the baby will spend the first four months close to Drusilla whilst it gains strength, develops and finds its feet. Other members of the group may eventually also take a part in the rearing but at the moment, Drusilla wants to keep a tight hold of her new arrival.”

When they are firstborn, Sulawesi-crested macaque infants have a pink face, hands and legs. In time, the skin darkens and turns black as it develops. Sulawesi crested macaques are renowned for their ‘punk rocker’ style crest of hair. The crest will form as the baby matures.

The latest addition will be a valuable asset to the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme (EEP) which conserves the species and avoid extinction. 

Guests can find the new arrival on Macaque Island.