Page last updated at 13:09 GMT, Monday, 11 May 2009 14:09 UK

Monkey births celebrated at park

Baby snow monkey
The baby snow monkeys are the first since the species were introduced

Two Japanese macaques are the first to be born at a Scottish wildlife park since the species' introduction to its collection in 2007.

Aimi, the first to be born at the Highland Wildlife Park near Aviemore in April, has been joined by another youngster in the past few days.

Also known as snow monkeys, the animals' arrival at the park was followed by controversy last year.

One escaped but was later recaptured shortly after three died.

The escapee got out from its enclosure before being recaptured nearby within an hour.

Earlier it emerged that a monkey was killed by a rival, while a second had to be put down and a third drowned.

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, which runs the site, said at the time that the deaths followed a struggle for dominance between the first group and a second, which was introduced later.

Advocates for Animals said the incidents highlighted why it was inappropriate to keep wild animals in captive conditions.

Polar bear

Macaques were introduced after the park's collection was widened to include animals from mountain and tundra habitats from around the world.

Last year, two Amur tigers were transported from Edinburgh Zoo to a new enclosure at the wildlife park.

The pair named Yuri and Sasha had previously reared six cubs.

Edinburgh Zoo has previously proposed moving its polar bear, Mercedes, to the Highland park.

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