There are many wonderful things about baby Francois’ langurs, but perhaps the foremost is that they’re so easy to spot.
Like most infant primates, little langurs spend most of their time huddled up against mom or other caregivers. But unlike the adults holding them, baby langurs have a vibrant orange coat, making it easy to ID them at a glance.
You can see the contrast yourself with the newest arrival at the Helen Brach Primate House, a male Francois’ langur born July 11 (below). The baby is the fourth offspring for mom Pumpkin and dad Cartman, sharing an exhibit with them and four other group members, including sister Orla, who was born in 2010.
Every new arrival is important for Francois’ langurs, which are endangered in their native China, Vietnam and Laos due to habitat loss and hunting. This birth came about thanks to a breeding recommendation from the Langur Species Survival Plan®, a shared conservation effort by zoos throughout the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The zoo’s own Bonnie Jacobs—the lead keeper in the Primate House—helps this vital conservation effort by maintaining breeding records for Francois’ langurs across North America.
So why are young langurs orange while the adults are black? Scientists aren’t certain, but they think the eye-catching coloration prompts other females in the group to lend a hand rearing new arrivals. That’s been our experience at the Primate House, where the “aunts” in the family group, along with Orla, are already carrying the newest member through the treetops. The little one’s color will fade in 3–6 months, so be sure to visit now!
Of course, the little langur isn’t the only baby making news at the zoo lately. As you may have heard, baby gorilla Nayembi has been introduced to her mom, Rollie, and mother-and-daughter pair Bana and Patty behind the scenes at Regenstein Center for African Apes. This is the latest milestone in Nayembi’s recovery, and it’s a testament to the hard work and 24-hour care provided by our animal experts.
The new introduced gorillas play off-exhibit at Regenstein Center for African Apes. Front to back: Rollie, Nayembi, Patty and Bana.
The reunited group is still getting used to one another, but it’s a promising step. We continue to monitor them around the clock, even as we plan the next move: reintroducing Nayembi to her full family group, including dad, silverback Kwan. I’ll keep you posted as the effort proceeds.