by Frank Lewis
WARNING: DANGEROUS LEVELS OF CUTENESS DETECTED, ENLARGE THE PHOTO AT OWN RISK.
The newest baby monkey at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo weighs less than a pound, but he’s pretty hard to miss. The Francois’ langur infant — born on April 29 — has bright orange fur compared to the silky black coats of adult langurs.
“This baby is nursing regularly and getting stronger and stronger every day,” said Christopher Kuhar, Ph.D. the Zoo’s Curator of Primates and Small Mammals. “It’s a very significant birth for us because there are fewer than 70 of these animals in North America, and a successful breeding program helps us to ensure we can have future generations of Francois’ langurs.”
The baby langur, named “Maynard” by his keepers, was born to mom, “Petunia,” and dad “Ike,” who was born at the Zoo himself in 1998. The little one is now on daily exhibit at The RainForest, usually clinging to his mom or nursing. The other adult females in the langur group — “Mei Mei” and “Leilu” — also share in the parenting duties.
Francois’ langurs are native to Vietnam, southeastern China and Laos. They are leaf-eating, tree-dwelling monkeys known for their acrobatic ease. Adults have smooth, black fur that comes to a spike atop the head.
Francois’ langurs are endangered due to habitat loss and illegal hunting. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is one of just about a dozen zoos across the country to participate in a Francois’ langur breeding program guided by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan. The Zoo’s last birth of a Francois’ langur was in 2004.