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Leicestershire zoo ‘absolutely delighted’ at birth of endangered primate

Keepers at a Leicestershire zoo have welcomed the birth of a Francois’ langur – an endangered species of primate.

One of the first to see the little langur was Kelly Salisbury, primate keeper at Twycross Zoo, who said the team were “incredibly excited”.

She said: “With their bright orange fur, baby François’ langurs are instantly recognisable and will be super easy for visitors to spot on their next visit.

Baby Francois langur primate peeks its head out from mother's arms
There are only 2,000 Francois’ langur species in the wild, according to Twycross Zoo (Twycross Zoo/PA)

“With the Easter holidays in full swing, there’s no better time for guests to come and meet our new baby François’ langur and learn more about this fascinating species.”

The primate, native to China and north Vietnam, is listed as endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, which names the world’s most endangered species.

It is estimated there are only 2,000 in the wild, with habitat deforestation one of the issues threatening the species.

Dr Rebecca Biddle, director of conservation at Twycross Zoo, said the new arrival is an important step in protecting the species.

She said: “We’re absolutely delighted to announce the birth of a François’ langur at Twycross Zoo.

“It’s always a special occasion when we welcome a new animal to the zoo but this birth is an especially important one because of how endangered the species is.”

Baby Francois langur primate hugs mother
The Francois’ langur, native to China and north Vietnam, is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (Twycross Zoo/PA)

She added: “As a conservation charity, our primary purpose is to preserve and protect the species with whom we share our planet.

“The addition of a new-born François’ langur is fantastic news, as there are only around 2,000 of them remaining in the wild.

“Unfortunately, wild populations of François’ langurs continue to decline, so this new arrival is a welcome addition to the troop and is a sign of hope for ongoing efforts to preserve this species.”

The infant is being cared for by its 17-year-old mother, the rest of the troop and the zoo’s primate experts.