Thursday, April 22, 2010

First female born to bushbaby parents at Edinburgh Zoo

First female born to bushbaby parents at Edinburgh Zoo

Keepers are celebrating the news that one of two lesser bushbabies (Galago moholi), born on 5 January, is the first female to be born to the resident bushbabies since their arrival at Edinburgh Zoo.

Just over four months old, and at an age when they can be caught without undue stress, Zoo vets confirmed the news in the last few days while carrying out routine micro-chipping and DNA sampling. The whole check-up process was videoed by staff and can now be viewed on the dedicated Edinburgh Zoo channel on YouTube.

Speaking following the announcement, Darren McGarry, Animal Collections Manager at Edinburgh Zoo said:

“For the keepers at Edinburgh Zoo there is always a sense of satisfaction when one of the animals in your care breeds as it means we must be doing something right. While as any parent would be delighted with a baby of either sex, this one obviously is particularly special as it is the first female of this species to be born at Edinburgh since the pair arrived in 2005.”

After a gestation period of four months, the adult female gives birth firstly to a single offspring and then for subsequent births she will tend to have twins and even triplets. A bushbaby can live up to 16 years and they are found in Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Nambia, Swaziland, Transvaal, West Tanzania and Zimbabwe. The twins, born to parents Bob and Beatrix, have since been named as Bonbon (male) and Belle (female) and are instantly recognisable by their huge eyes.

Although not as rare as some of the other monkeys in the Zoo’s collection, as their name suggests, bushbabies (or lesser galago as they are also known) spend most of there lives in the trees. As a nocturnal species their sight and hearing is adapted to enable them to hunt their prey, usually preferring beetles, grasshoppers and insects. With five in the Zoo’s collection, they can often be seen dozing during the day in a nest or tree hollow in their enclosure and emit a cry similar to a human’s.

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