Starting today the competition runs until next Friday (October 28) when the team at Woburn will be accepting name suggestions for a new as yet unsexed Squirrel monkey baby at www.woburnsafari.co.uk/monkeynaming. The Animal Encounters team of keepers will then choose the winning unisex name from those suggested, to be announced on Halloween.
The healthy new youngsters will spend the coming weeks feeding from and clinging onto their mothers (Tye, Ringo, Bamboo and Dougal) in a spacious walk-through reserve called ‘Monkey Business’ in the Foot Safari, where they are on view to the public.
Louise Moody, keeper at Woburn Safari Park said: “We are delighted with the healthy new Squirrel monkey babies and what is remarkable is that their mums are very relaxed around people and can often be seen caring for them and showing them off to the visitors. Here at Woburn Safari Park we allow the animals the freedom to choose where they want to give birth so that the process can happen as naturally as possible.
“The mums have been busy caring for their offspring and taking them on rides through the trees on their backs. We expect the new youngsters to become increasingly independent over the coming months.”
Squirrel monkeys have a long gestation period of 150 to 170 days, which means that they are born incredibly well-developed and can be fully independent from their mother after between 5 and 8 months.
Woburn Safari Park is home to a large troop of squirrel monkeys, and the new births this year follows the arrival of baby Miguel and Marty Century Delorian Mcfly last autumn and four babies in 2014!
Squirrel monkeys feed on fruit and insects, and in some areas in the wild numbers are declining due to forest destruction and fragmentation. One of the smallest primate species in the world, the squirrel monkey has (proportionally) the largest brain in relation to its body of all the primates.