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Tiny Monkey Brings Big Hopes To Sussex Zoo

The phrase ‘good things come in small packages’ rings true at Drusillas Zoo Park that has just welcomed the world’s smallest monkey.

New arrival, Rosie, is an adult female pygmy marmoset weighing in at a teeny 108g. She arrived at Drusillas Zoo Park on January 30 from Shepreth Wildlife Park to join resident male, Ben, with hopes of welcoming tiny infants in the future.

The Alfriston zoo has not welcomed baby pygmy marmosets for over 10 years.

Zoo Animal Manager, Mark Kenward, commented:

“We have been hoping to welcome a female pygmy marmoset for some time, and are thrilled with how well Rosie is settling in. Within a day or two we observed the pair mutually grooming – a really positive sign of a successful pairing - and Rosie is following Ben everywhere he goes, it seems she has developed quite the crush on him!”

“Pygmy marmosets are typically quite shy, but Rosie seems a little more confident in her nature and is very curious whenever the keepers are in the habitat, coming over to investigate what’s going on. It seems to have brought Ben out of his shell as well.”

Pygmy marmosets are the smallest true monkey, and one of the smallest primates in the world, native to the rainforests of South America. The species is classified as vulnerable on the ICUN Red List of threatened species, due to habitat loss and the exotic pet trade where they have become popularly known as ‘finger monkeys’, a worrying trend seeing marmosets taken prematurely from their mothers and sold as ‘cute’ accessories.

Keepers hope Ben and Rosie’s bond will continue to grow, and the pitter patter of tiny little feet is on the horizon – which would be the first time in over a decade for the Sussex zoo, and a crucial boost for the population of the species.

Many of the animals at Drusillas are involved in breeding programmes, often monitored by studbook keepers. Primates, in particular, are a cause for concern due to the threat of extinction in the wild. Drusillas is proud to be doing their part to safeguard threatened species and ensure that these amazing monkeys do not risk extinction.

Visitors wanting to meet Rosie and Ben and observe their blossoming romance, can find them in the zoo’s mixed habitat they share with two of the zoo’s sloths, Flash and Gordon, and the Park’s red-footed tortoises, Porthos, Eagle, and Dartanian.

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