Ten monkeys born in Letterkenny in recent weeks

AS Tropical World in Letterkenny expands its already large menagerie, the recent birth of ten young to three of the world’s smallest monkey species, helps conserve some of these endangered species.
Four weeks ago a Cotton Top Tamarin monkey gave birth to tiny twins at Tropical World helping to conserve this endangered species. The young, weighing just a few grams remain on their mother’s back until around four weeks when they start to venture off on their own in their enclosure. They are not unlike tiny Yorkshire terriers but with a very long tail!
This week Head Ranger at the growing zoo Tanya Jacobs proudly showed the Donegal News their new arrivals and explained how they had a lot going on with their breeding programmes.
“The Cotton Top Tamarin is a native of South America and normally lives in the tree tops. The pair which have bred and resulted in the twins, came to us about two years ago. We are delighted with the success,” Tanya said.
Next she shows us the Geoffroy’s Marmoset monkeys which are native to the lowland forests of Brazil. It was difficult to spot the two month old youngsters on their mother’s back as they too are tiny, just weighing a few grams at birth but the two babies were holding on tightly as the mother jumped from branch to branch in their enclosure.
“Sadly the male, who was quite elderly, passed away a few weeks ago,” Tanya said.

As we made out way to the enclosure where the Pygmy Marmosets live we passed the meerkat family enclosure from where they watched us with curiosity before darting into their tunnels.
The Geoffroy’s Pygmy Marmoset is the one of the world’s smallest primates. It is native to the rainforests of the Western Amazon and weighs in at just over 100 grams (3.5 oz).
“These are on the ‘red list’ for conservation and it is great that we can do our bit here to help. They eat tree sap, fruit and nectar and tend to stay in the tree tops in their enclosure,” Tanya said.
We also looked into the butterfly forest where stunningly coloured, enormous butterflies are born and fly around in the 26 degree humid atmosphere.
Recently Alcorn’s purchased part of a rare collection of framed butterflies and insects from a collector near Dublin allowing visitors to the zoo to see the preserved world’s largest moth and a number of very ‘scary’ large tarantulas. The remainder of the collection was sold to Japan.
In the new insect section of the zoo – Bug World – there are live tarantulas and scorpions to be seen as well as rare frogs, giant stick insects and lots of creepy crawlies including an extremely large millipede.
What is sure to be a huge draw for young and old alike is the Jurassic World where the range of replica dinosaurs is amazing and a little disconcerting when some of them actually growl and move as you approach!
Tropical World is a member of BIAZA (British and Irish Association of zoos and aquariums). It’s aim is to be a powerful force in the care and conservation of our natural world.
To date Alcorn’s have raised over €6,000 for the body which buys land to turn into nature reserves so native plants and animals can survive without the risk of deforestation that is destroying their natural habitat. Half of this amount came from admission fees.
“More and more people are discovering the huge and varied collection of birds, bugs, reptiles and animals we have here – it is a wonderful attraction to have here in the north west and gives people the opportunity to see all of these live creatures,” Tanya added.

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Donegal News is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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