L'Hoest's monkey was born at Zoo Wrocław on October 4 this year. It can be seen in the outdoor enclosure of the Monkey House. The baby is not independent yet, but the mother and the rest of the group are taking good care of the little one. This is another representative of this endangered species born in the conservation breeding program in Wrocław.
Kahuzi, Kibale, Kalinzu, Ituri, Hermione, Hella, Mothudi, Thabo, Epulu and Heos are the Wrocław's family group of L'Hoest's monkeys, the largest in Europe.
- Our group is based on three individuals - two females who came from the Paris Menagerie du Jardin des Plantes and a male from another French garden - Parc Zoologique de La Palmyre. They came to Wrocław in 2006 and since 2008 we have one or two babies every year. When they are ready we transfer them to other zoos. I estimate that 1/3 of the L'Hoest's monkeys in European zoos come from our zoo. This shows that we have created very good breeding conditions for them and that we fulfill our most important goal - we support the endangered species, because who knows what will happen to it in nature - says Radosław Ratajszczak, president of the Wrocław zoo.
The status of this species in its natural environment is unknown, because the area in which it lives is considered to be one of the most dangerous in the world, and this makes field research impossible. We are talking about the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where civil wars have been breaking out every now and then for 25 years - for power and natural resources. They not only destroy habitats, but also directly increase the demand for bush meat - wild animals hunted for human consumption. Due to the difficult situation in the homeland of this species, there is no research on their biology or behavior. In this situation, the role of conservation breeding in zoos is growing. Firstly, they build a population size that is safe for the survival of a species, and secondly, they provide important information about it.
Within a year, the zoo population has increased by 7 individuals. One new facility has been opened, bringing the total number of facilities keeping these monkeys to 16, most of them in Europe. The population is still small - 34 males, 38 females and 3 unmarked juveniles. Importantly, not every zoo that keeps them is involved in conservation breeding, because creating breeding groups requires more females. In Poland, these monkeys live in two gardens - a bachelor group in Zamość and a mixed breeding group in Wrocław.
The size of the Wrocław family group is kept at the level of 8-10 individuals to prevent inbreeding and crowding of the enclosure. During recent years, the zoo in Wrocław has managed to raise many young, most of them female.
L'Hoest's monkeys are also called mountain monkeys. As the name suggests, they live in an environment cooler than what is commonly associated with Africa. That is why here in Poland they like to spend time outside, even in winter. So although the Monkey House is closed due to the pandemic, this species and others can be viewed in their outdoor enclosures - summarizes president Ratajszczak.