There’s been a royal birth at Paignton Zoo.

The king colobus monkey was born on Wednesday 3rd October. The photograph was taken a few days later by Paignton Zoo volunteer photographer Ray Wiltshire.

Father Martin was born in 1997, while mother Ivy was born in 2002. This is their fourth baby together. A king colobus at birth weighs under a kilo; the sex is currently unknown – the first vet check is not due until the youngster is at least 6 months old.

A single youngster is born after a gestation of around 180 days (6 months). Pure white at birth, it develops black markings at one month. The new arrival brings the Zoo’s troop up to six - as well as Martin and Ivy there’s Harper, Squidge and Lola.

The new arrival is important, as Paignton Zoo Curator of Mammals Neil Bemment explained: “There are only six collections in Europe holding king colobus, so the birth is special as we and EAZA - the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria - want this population to grow.”

The species is listed by the IUCN as Vulnerable. It is threatened by habitat destruction and hunting for food. There is a European zoos' Endangered species Programme (EEP).

It is a monkey of forest and wooded grassland, eating mainly leaves. It can often be seen sitting quietly while it digests this low-value food in its unusually large stomach. Colobus monkeys spend their lives in the tree-tops. Four long fingers on each forelimb grasp branches like hooks.

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