Page last updated at 17:25 GMT, Tuesday, 8 April 2008 18:25 UK

Rejected baby monkey hand-reared

Diana monkey
The baby is being hand-reared by a team of zoo keepers

Zoo keepers have been hand-rearing an endangered baby monkey after he was rejected by his mother following a caesarean birth.

The male Diana monkey, who has yet to be named, was born on Good Friday at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park near Hythe, Kent.

His mother failed to bond with him and he was taken into the care of the zoo's head of primates, Simon Jeffery.

"We never like to hand-rear them but it is the only option," he said.

"He is very lively and showing signs of growing well and responding to noises around him.

"He is developing his own character."

No maternal instinct

The mother, 19-year-old Angie, needed the caesarean section after a difficult labour and afterwards failed to show any maternal instinct.

But she has brought up seven other offspring successfully and it is hoped mother and baby can be reunited when the youngster, which now weighs 15.5 oz (439g), reaches five months old.

The Diana monkey is named after the Roman goddess of the moon because of the distinctive white crescent shape on its forehead.

It is one of the most endangered of all the guenons, a type of forest monkey native to West Africa.

It is hunted for its flesh and fur as well as for the pet trade. Its natural habitat is also under threat from deforestation.

To combat this a co-operative breeding programme housing more than 80 animals has been set up in 24 European zoos.

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The baby monkey being reared by zoo keepers



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