Two baby Francois’ langurs made their debut Thursday as the newest additions to the Los Angeles Zoo’s troupe of monkeys.
“They’re little orange balls of vigor,” said Roxane Losey, an animal keeper at the zoo. “In the next month they’re going to start getting really active and they’ll be quite a joy for people to watch.”
The baby monkeys have not yet been named.
The rare pair are one of the most critically endangered types of all langur monkeys, Losey said. Their natural habitat is a small region of southwestern China and northeastern Vietnam.
The monkeys are around two months old and have been held in a behind-the-scenes exhibit since their birth for safety purposes: The infants cling to their mother as they gain strength, so there was a possibility they could fall off of the main exhibit’s high perches and injure themselves.
Now that the babies are in the enclosure with the rest of the monkeys — three females and two other males — they are making the most of the langurs’ communal style of parenting, known as alloparenting.
“If one mom gets a little tired … another mother, even if they don’t have a baby, will come over and hold the baby and care for it,” Losey said. “It creates a really nice social bond between an entire group.”
Losey said it’s also good that the young monkeys will have the chance to grow up playing together, which will help their development.
“They’re going to develop probably faster than our previous male because they do have that closeness in age that’s going to make them push on,” Losey said.
Be sure to go see them soon: The baby monkeys will likely be transferred to another zoo in about a year and a half, so they can begin to form their own families and avoid inbreeding, Losey said.