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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 September, 2004, 11:01 GMT 12:01 UK
Zoo takes on rare monkey pairing
Sierra - Black and White Western Colobus Monkey - Picture from Newquay Zoo
Zoo staff hope Sierra will join an already successful breeding group
A Cornwall zoo is the new home for a rare type of monkey which staff hope will take part in a breeding programme.

Sierra, a female black and white western colobus monkey, has been moved to Newquay Zoo from Paignton Zoo.

The species is threatened in its natural west African rainforest habitat because of deforestation and hunting.

But before Sierra can get involved in the programme, the zoo is awaiting the arrival of a male monkey from Urfurt Zoo in Germany.

However, the animal will have to spend six months in quarantine at Paignton Zoo before going to Newquay.

The zoo has been part of the international breeding programme for several years.

The loss of a female in its monkey group set in motion a series of animal moves with other zoos across Europe to continue the programme.

Zoo assistant director Stewart Muir said: "As with all breeding programmes, we need to ensure that we have an unrelated group to breed from.

"As babies are born and adults die of old age, we need to move individuals to other zoos and bring in unrelated monkeys to develop further the group here at Newquay Zoo."

Such animal movements have to be planned very carefully and can take time.

Stewart Muir said the zoo was looking forward to Sierra being joined by a potential mate after his quarantine at Paignton Zoo.

He said: "Once this happens we will have two females and one male which will then form the core of what we hope will be another successful breeding group here at the zoo."

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