Hand-reared baby titi monkey has survived against the odds

Almost six months ago the life of Bristol Zoo Gardens’ baby red titi monkey Pichiku hung in the balance.

His mum, Bella, had died after giving birth to him and keepers at the Zoo knew his only chance of survival was to hand-rear him.

A team of four of them took it in turns for weeks to feed him around the clock.

Their dedication paid off and today he is thriving and getting to know his dad, Junin, with whom he spends his days.

Pichiku has been weaned and is now eating a diet of vegetables including sweet potatoes and peppers, as well as insects and banana flavoured marmoset jelly. He now weighs 442 gms and will be fully grown when he is a year old.

Mammals team leader Sarah Gedman said: “It was touch and go at the beginning but it is a real success now.

“His dad has accepted him and that’s amazing. He’s not relying on the keepers now. He focuses on his dad not on us and that shows he has been hand-reared well.”

Sarah said Pichiku sleeps next to his dad’s nest box and will hopefully one day share it with him.

She said: “I would like to see them curled up together with their tails entwined, social behaviour that titi monkeys commonly show during resting and sleeping, both in the wild and in zoos.”

Sarah said Pichiku now eats bamboo after watching his dad eat it and is learning other social behaviour from him too.”

Bristol Zoo is believed to be only the second zoo in the country to have succeeded in hand-rearing a titi monkey to this stage.

Pichiku means ‘little monkey’ in a local Peruvian dialect, one of the countries inhabited by red titi monkeys .

They are also found in Brazil and live in remote forest areas


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