Tiny primates set to enchant zoo visitors

THERE’S been some monkey business going on in Darlington Point this week and Altina Wildlife Park’s newest residents are to blame. 

The park is now home to eight adorable common marmoset monkeys, including twin babies born on September 6 and still clinging to their parents’ backs.

With white, fluffy ear tufts and long banded tails, senior animal keeper Rebecca Surian said the cute little monkeys were quickly stealing the hearts of keepers.

The new additions are the park’s first primates.

“They’re our new favourites because they’re really human-oriented, we go in there and they jump all over us,” Mrs Surian said.

“We’re so excited to have them.”

Marmosets grow to an average of just 18.5 centimetres – half the length of a ruler – and are agile jumpers.

Mrs Surian said they were incredibly human-like and keepers had to keep a close eye on their diet and health.

“They’re a bit harder to look after because they need a big variety in their fruit and veg and it has to be cut up into 1cm pieces,” Mrs Surian said.

“They can get diabetes and if any of us have a cold, they can catch it so we have to be very careful.”

The monkeys currently enjoy a diet of pineapple, citrus, cooked sweet potato and pumpkin among other things.

Keepers hope the breeding pairs will quickly make themselves at home and get some more babies on the way.

Mrs Surian said they were investigating expanding the park’s monkey population and were looking into acquiring ring-tailed lemurs and some smaller primates, such as the tamarin monkey.

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