Breeding Humboldt's woolly monkey Lagothrix lagotricha at Murrayton Woolly Monkey Sanctuary

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<ul><li><p>86 BREEDING </p><p>Breeding Humboldt's woolly monkey </p><p>a t Murrayton Woolly Monkey Sanctuary Lagothrix lagotricha </p><p>L. W I L L I A M S Murrayton Woolly Monkey Sanctuary, Near Looe, Cornwall, England </p><p>In the interests of animal conservation, public education and zoological research, I consider the specialised colony of animals in captivity to be no less important than the creation of natural re- serves in the wild. In time game parks and reserves will become more controlled or 'unnatural' and in the conflict between wildlife and the demands of human society, I believe the specialised animal colony will play one of the most important parts in helping to solve the problems of wild animal survival. However, if zoos are to play a real and useful part in animal conservation, they will have to change their whole attitude to keeping wild animals in captivity: at present zoos consume many more animals than they produce. Moreover, few zoos provide the necessary conditions for the majority of wild animals species to reproduce over several generations. </p><p>Our woolly monkey colony was founded in 1959 in Kent and was transferred to Murrayton, Cornwall, in 1965. At present (Nov. 1966) the </p><p>AGE NAME SEX I N YEARS WEIGHT </p><p>J o b Django Lulu Samba </p><p>Elizabeth * </p><p>Kicky Sue Lulu's Baby Jessy's Baby </p><p>Jimmy </p><p>Jesv </p><p>6 44 </p><p>8 4 </p><p>5 I t </p><p>20 days z days </p><p>I 0 </p><p>I 0 </p><p>2 </p><p>Kg 108 7'7 8-1 6.8 6.8 9.0 7'0 4'0 4'7 </p><p>'55 g '40'5 g </p><p>* Low in the social hierarchy, despite her size. She appears to be the least intelligent in the group. </p><p>Table I . Humboldt's woolly monkeys, Lugofhrix Zagofricha, at Murrayton Woolly Monkey Sanc- tuary in their social order of rank. </p><p>colony consists of I I Humboldt's Woolly monkeys (see Table I). </p><p>The woolly monkeys live in a large indoor room, 64 sq. m, provided with ropes, beams, heated sleeping bunks, a highly polished asphalt floor, continuous supply of fresh water, and long wooden food trough raised off the floor. Localised heating (23.9"C) is provided along the three bunks for sleeping. The rest of the room, away from the relatively small areas occupied by the bunks, is kept at 15' to 18C. The monkeys are free to leave the indoor room through a swinging door, along a corridor cage and into an outdoor grass-floored enclosure. This is connected by ropes to a group of beech trees in which the monkeys are free to roam at all times. The monkeys are a secure social group, make no attempt to escape, and do not come down from the trees, except when they are in the grassed enclosure, which they regard as their territory. </p><p>With such a relatively small group of 11 monkeys, in spacious quarters and living a semi- natural life, there is very little destructive activity. All the ropes at Murrayton, indoors and outdoors, are ringed at both ends and though they have been used constantly for 14 years, they show little sign of wear - unlike the ropes in zoo cages which are often destroyed by monkeys as there is little else for them to do. With plenty of space and plenty to do, monkeys are not nearly as destructive as their reputation would have us believe. Even the blankets with which they play and often cover themselves in their sleeping bunks have lasted for more than a year. They are washed and disin- fected weekly. They are rarely fouled with drop- pings, and when they are it is an accident. Given the opportunity, woolly monkeys will always defaecate from the high beams away from their sleeping quarters. </p><p>In the wild, woolly monkeys must certainly eat large grubs and insects, rich in protein. At Murrayton they catch and eat moths and various </p></li><li><p>BREEDING 87 </p><p>insects. They also eat raw eggs. They sometimes catch small birds, which they eat. They eat a few beech leaves, a little grass and a little earth. However, we provide the bulk of their food. Apart from the usual fruits and vegetables, such as oranges, apples, pears, raisins, sultanas, lettuce, celery, and cress (but no beetroot or onions), the following are also important ingred- ients in the diet of the Murrayton colony: lightly cooked eggs, grated cheese, butter, meat, fish, cereals, semolina, rice, coconut, brazil nuts, mealworms, liquorice roots, blackcurrant juice, orange juice, condensed milk, cows milk, cocoa, Virol (vitamised malt extract). We also give them lightly cooked meat (lamb or chicken is preferred) which has to be be fed with roughage. We mix ground hemp into the meat, which they relish. If the hemp is not included Samba, for example, will climb onto the kitchen dresser and wrap the meat or cooked egg into a paper hand- kerchief, and eat it like a sandwich. </p><p>Food should be available to monkeys at fre- quent intervals throughout the day. The colony at Murrayton requires two keepers in almost constant attendance, working in two shifts (0800- 1500 and ~ ~ o o - z z m hours). Special food items and drinks are given throughout the day; the bulk of the food is fed at least four times daily. Faeces and urine are removed every two hours and the indoor room is hosed, cleaned and disinfected every morning. Even with our small colony of 11 monkeys in an area as large as the Murrayton environment (4 acre), constant feeding and scrup- ulous cleaning are necessary. Although the Murrayton conditions may be ideal when com- pared with those of monkeys in zoos, their environment is essentially a controlled and captive one; for this reason our system of feeding and cleaning is very important. </p><p>The examples and pressures of social and biolo- gical behaviour that can only occur in a colony or family group are essential in all species of primates for health, social development and reproduction. Few if anyzoos are able to provide the necessaryen- vironmental conditions to maintain a breeding colony of woolly monkeys. The animals they ac- quire are almost invariably either desocialised, six- monthald isolates, or hand-reared pets, im- printed on their owners, that are given to the zoo when they become mature and bite them. If animals such as these are combined in a restricted area to </p><p>form a group, the dominant male becomes a despot and a hierarchy cannot be established peacefully. </p><p>At Murrayton there is scope for exploration and leadership. With plenty of space and plenty to do, the hierarchical disputes are resolved peacefully and serious fighting rarely occurs. There are trees to be tested and explored, foliage, insects, grubs, and moths to be found and sampled. Buzzards fly overhead. Storms, gales, snow and frost bring variety and tension into the semi-captive life of the monkey community, as do the sounds of owls, foxes and other animals. These all play their part in helping to consolidate the group. </p><p>Four of the woolly monkeys (Lulu, Jojo, Django and Jessy) arrived from the Amazon at the age of 2) years, and must have already experienced social disciplines in their original wild environment. A social order of rank and communal play activity in a semi-natural or natural environment are virtually indispensable if the animals are to reproduce. In the confined conditions of most u x l s there is not sufficient space to establish a breeding colony without the animals becoming aggressive with each other; and if a pregnant female is isolated, there is less likeli- hood of her rearing her young successfully outside the disciplines of the social group. Equally, few species of tropical monkeys can withstand living outdoors throughout the year in England, and unless large, heated indoor quarters are available, island colonies should not be attempted. </p><p>Proof of the success of the environment we provide for the woolly monkeys at Murrayton was the birth of a male baby at 0600 hours on 17 April 1966. As far as is known, this is the fourth recorded birth of Humboldts woolly monkey in captivity (one was born at Baltimore Zoo in 1954, another in 1956, and one at Zurich Zoo in 1965). A female baby was later born at Murrayton at 0700 hours on 23 November 1966 to Jessy. </p><p>Humboldts Woolly monkey becomes adult at about eight years of age. Menstruation occurs every three weeks and each period lasts three days. Oestrus starts 10 days after the last day of menstruation and lasts for three days. Copul- ation is almost continuous during this period and frequently continues beyond the three-day period almost until the beginning of the next menstrual period. The younger males (aged three to four) are sexually interested in the oestrous female, licking and caressing her, and making </p></li><li><p>88 B R E E D I N G </p><p>copulatory movements, usually without successful penetration. </p><p>The gestation period is 7+ months. Lulu was 10 years old when her baby was </p><p>born and Jessy six years old. They stood on all fours during the birth, looking round from time to time and investigating the birth with their hands. The first stage of parturition took three hours; thesecond stageof actual delivery took about 15 minutes. During the birth of Lulus baby all the other monkeys (including the male parent, Jojo who watched with more concern than the others) gathered round, some within 2 m, peering at her with great interest. They made no sound, apart from an occasional eelk (an emotive cry indicating all is well). They did not interfere. The impact of the birth on the group confirms the importance of colony conditions. </p><p>As soon as it was born the baby clung instinc- tively to the mother. She brought it round to her front and cleaned it scrupulously. She nibbled at the umbilical cord and removed it on the evening of the day of birth. She took no interest in the placenta. </p><p>Two hours after the birth, Jojo approached Lulu and embraced her in a most human way. Since then he has remained close to her and the baby, rarely leaving her longer than for a few minutes at a time. He has not been over to the trees alone since the baby arrived. If people come into the room, he stands between them and Lulu, shielding her with his arms and body. He licks and fusses over the baby. All three often sleep embracing, huddled close together. His parental instincts have been undoubtedly awakened by the arrival of the baby, and strengthened by his attach- ment to Lulu, and by his protective and affec- tionate behaviour to all the monkeys in the colony. Although he also copulates with Jessy (five years old) and is possessive with her during oestrus, he does not display the same affection and attention as he does to Lulu. It would seem that the dominant woolly monkey male has a favourite wife, but will still mate with other available females. </p><p>Five hours after the birth she brought the baby over to mc. She made the characteristic woolly monkey snuffling sound, holding her hand over her eyes, indicating a wish to fraternise. She allowed me to touch the baby, but not too much, and she accepted a cup of orange juice. Although I </p><p>watched the birth from the far corner of the room, I did not take photographs for fear of disturbing Lulu with the flashlight. </p><p>Jojo will not allow any people, other than myself, to approach Lulu and the baby. This is not a mark of affection or confidence but because he is a little afraid of me. I have been attacked several times by Jojo and have had to fight for my life. Jojo has lost two lower canines as the result of these encounters. I am convinced that an adult male could kill a weak, small man. He allows people he is familiar with to clean the indoor room and bring in the food, but he will not let them approach Lulu. I also do not go near Lulu, partly because I am afraid of Jojo, and partly because I do not want to cause him any undue stress. </p><p>After five or six days Lulu allowed the other monkeys to approach and even to touch the baby, provided they did so with great care. Jojo will also chase them away if they appear to worry her. </p><p>The baby suckled within two hours of birth. Its eyes were open as soon as it was born and it responded to visual stimuli at the age of two days. I t started to crawl round the mothers body and to take an active interest in the monkey community at five days: it would reach out its hand to ropes, play material, and the other monkeys. During the first week Lulu kept it close to her front, guarding and shielding it continuously. She did not take it outdoors to the trees or grassy enclosure until the third day, and then only for a few minutes at a time when the sun was shining. On the 10th day she took the baby to the top of one of the beech trees (30 m tall). During the first week she always walked with one hand pressing the baby to her, though it clung to her firmly of its own accord. The baby climbed round from the front to Lulus back on the ninth day. I t now alternates between front and back, increasing its excursions on to her back. While walking,moving, climbing, or resting, Lulu is always extremely careful. At present, at 19 days, the baby is very healthy and energetic but does not attempt to leave its mother. I would not expect it to do this until it was about two months old. </p><p>The lactation period is not known. Judging by the behaviour of imported four- to six-month-old woolly monkeys, lactation would seem to last for nine months or one year, though obviously the young monkey starts eating solids before this time. </p></li><li><p>BREEDING 89 </p><p>With the birth of the second woolly monkey </p><p>lished breeding colony. Another female, Suby, is also believed to be pregnant. </p><p>FOOTNOTE </p><p>gtky A detailed report of the social and biological behaviow of both </p><p>mothers and their babies will be included in the Leonnrd Williams baby the Murrayton is now a m w k ~ * to be published in *g67 by </p><p>A note on breeding the Spectacled leaf monkey Presbytis obscura </p><p>at Twycross Zoo </p><p>M. BADHAM Director, Twycross Zoo Park, England </p><p>The adult colony of Spectacled leaf monkeys Pres- bytis obscura at Twycross Zoo consists of a male and three females. A young half-grown male and an adult female were bought from a dealer in August 1963; the other two adult females were obtained in July 1965. </p><p>Menstruation in the females was observed to occur approximately every three weeks and to last two or three days. During menstruation there is a blood-coloured discharge. As the male was not sexually mature he took no notice of the females until the second week in February when he mated with both of them, mounting them from the rear. Copulation took place on the first day after menstruation and continued for two days afterwards, depending on the receptivity of the females. </p><p>After February the two females ceased to menstruate and by June showed visible signs of pregnancy - swelling of the abdomen and mam- mary glands. During the night of 6 July 1966 a baby was born to each of the two mated females. The birth and cleaning of the babies was not observed. When first seen in the morning, both babies were in the arms of one female and were at first thought to be twins. This was later disproved, though it was rather remarkable that both females gave birth during the same night. </p><p>The babies each weighed approximately I 13-3 g at birth and their hair was bright orange in colour, in...</p></li></ul>