Edinburgh Zoo’s living links habitat centre has welcomed the births of four squirrel monkeys. The young monkeys can be seen hanging on to the backs of their parents or on occasion venturing out on their own.
The two female squirrel monkeys have been named Loki and Sofia while the two males are named Norrisaur and Gonzo.
Loki is the eldest born on the 28/6/2014 to Jasmin. Next is Chloe’s baby Gonzo who was born on the 8/9/2014. Sofia is the daughter of Lucienne and was born on 18/9/2014. Last was Norrisaur who was born on the 21/9/2014 to Harlette.
Living Links is a research centre that the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (the managing group of Edinburgh Zoo) established in partnership with the University of St Andrews. It helps with studies that are being undertaken in affiliation with the Scottish Primate Research Group.
These monkeys will one day help with the facilities research but the eldest female, Loki is already wanting to get in on the action.
Loki has been jumping into the research areas as Research Coordinator at Living Links, Dr. Lara Wood explained, “Entering the research cubicles is a completely voluntary option for all monkeys at Living Links. We couldn’t believe it when little Loki made her debut on her mother’s back at only three days old. Now five months old and with an outgoing personality, she will enthusiastically jump into the cubicles herself with the older monkeys. In fact, as she associates the area with rewards, it’s sometimes challenging getting her back out!”
Turns out she can be a troublemaker at times though, “Loki’s curiosity and alertness means she is a little troublemaker, but at the same time she is so irresistibly cute that it is impossible not to succumb to her playful charms, added Lara.
It was this mischevious attitude that led to her name said Lara, “Her big personality even inspired her name; one of the researchers who watched her throughout the summer named her Loki after the God of mischief in Nordic mythology.”
Each of the monkeys were named for their personalities as Living Links Team Leader, Sophie Pearson explained, “Each monkey at Living Links has its own distinct personality and it’s only fair they get a meaningful name – this always a fun and interesting part of the keepers and researchers’ jobs. The two male baby monkeys have been named Norrisaur and Gonzo. Norrisaur was named as a birthday present for a keeper, it’s a take on his name which encompasses his love for dinosaurs; whereas Gonzo was named after one of the researcher’s favourite TV characters because he is always happy. Sofia, the other female youngster, is a bit more graceful so has been named after an actress.”
Visitors to the zoo can watch the baby monkeys either indoors or outdoors in Living Links West Wing. The habitat also has an East wing which means the two groups which live in these different areas can participate in comparative studies.
The zoo’s squirrel monkey groups currently have 40 squirrel monkeys which is similar to their natural groups which may have to 300 monkeys. They naturally live in the rainforests of South America.
Photo credit: Edinburgh Zoo