If there was an award for best mother this coming Mothering Sunday, keepers at Banham Zoo would certainly be thinking of putting Izzy up for the accolade.
But who is she……well, Izzy is a coppery titi monkey who has resided at Banham Zoo since 2013. Last week she presented keepers at the zoo with her fourth baby. The infant, as yet unnamed and unsexed, is in the very best of hands and is living with Izzy, her mate Juanito and their three previous offspring, Julio, Maitae and Zaria.
The zoo’s family of titi monkeys reside in ‘Eureka’, a large sub-tropical house which also houses several free flying bird species and a pair of Linne’s two-toed sloth called Santos and Vlo. Keepers will still be keeping a very close eye on mum and baby despite Izzy’s impeccable credentials and will be thinking of suitable names for their latest infant although it could be several weeks before its gender can be determined.
The infant is so tiny that, to all but the most observant of visitors, it remains almost hidden from view. Baby red titi monkeys cling to their parent’s backs and as the parents have fairly thick fur the young can be difficult to spot when first born. However, with each passing day the baby is becoming more visible and there are always keepers or volunteers on hand inside the tropical house to help guests spot the new arrival.
Titi monkeys come from South America, specifically Brazil and Peru and are not at the moment considered threatened in the wild because they occur in a remote isolated region. However, Brazil has one of the largest rates of deforestation in the world, losing 640,000 hectares of forest in 2012 alone, compare this to the size of Wales (2 million hectares) and it is quite clear why zoos remain concerned for the future of animals that at the present time are not considered in immediate threat of extinction.
In European zoos, titi monkeys are managed within a European Breeding Programme which forms part of the European Association for Zoos and Aquaria’s (EAZA) strategy to help preserve the world’s wildlife. Like any human parent seeing their precious child off into the world the zoo hopes that their latest youngster will eventually move to another zoo to assist with the breeding programme but she will remain at Banham, with mum Izzy, dad Juanito, brother Julio and sisters Maitae and Zaria for the foreseeable future.
Happy Mother’s Day Izzy!