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Moustached monkeys settle into new home at Downs zoo

MISCHIEVOUS: Five-year-old Maddie Robinson welcomes one of the new emperor tamarins to its new Australian home at the Darling Downs Zoo.
MISCHIEVOUS: Five-year-old Maddie Robinson welcomes one of the new emperor tamarins to its new Australian home at the Darling Downs Zoo. Darling Downs Zoo

YOU would be forgiven for thinking it's Movember at the Darling Downs Zoo.

The zoo latest arrivals are a pair of mischievous, moustached monkeys - who are setting up house to save their species.

For the Darling Downs Zoo, importing the pair of emperor tamarins has been a project three years in the making.

Director Steve Robinson said the zoo was only the fifth in Australia to house the endangered tamarins.

"Our male came from a zoo in Jersey in the Channel Islands and his new partner was born in a zoo in Ireland," he said.

"Before we could get the pair we had to be admitted to the European breeding program."

For the zoo owners, finding the monkeys was only part of the challenge - with strict conditions surrounding the housing and breeding of the species.

One of the imported Emperor Tamarins at the Darling Downs Zoo.
One of the imported Emperor Tamarins at the Darling Downs Zoo. Darling Downs Zoo

Mr Robinson said logistically getting Charlie, the male and his unnamed partner, to Australia was complex.

"All their health tests had to be done, then we had to get them onto the same flight," he said.

"We have our own quarantine station here, supervised by our vet, Ross Newman, from Warwick."

If all goes to plan the new tamarins will breed, but Mr Robinson isn't counting on it.

"It's down to nature - genetically they are capable of breeding but there's no guarantee biologically they will," he said.

"A different type of monkey we've had here for three or four years haven't bred yet."

It's not the first time the zoo has imported a species from overseas.

The new Emperor Tamarins were imported from a zoo in Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands. Photo Contributed
The new Emperor Tamarins were imported from a zoo in Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands. Photo Contributed Contributed

In the past decade the zoo has imported baboons from Poland, white lions from South Africa and a group of zebras from the US.

Now in its 11th year of operation, the small family-owned zoo is about to reach to new heights.

"We're working on the biggest project we've ever undertaken," Mr Robinson said.

"I can't give too much away but this will be our biggest enclosure yet."

Topics:  darling downs zoo warwick


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