An endangered monkey has given birth to a black-headed spider monkey and a northern white-cheeked gibbon at a zoo in Warwickshire.
The newborns, who have not been named, mark the success of Twycross Zoo’s conservation programme.
Heartwarming pictures show one of the monkey’s cradling on to their parents while hanging from a tree.
A spokesman for Tycross Zoo said the newborns sex remains unknown ‘due to the important bonding period within the troop’.
An endangered monkey has given birth to a black-headed spider monkey and a northern white-cheeked gibbon at Twycross Zoo in Warwickshire
Parents Jamundi and Monty and Kampuchea and Earl are keeping a ‘watchful eye’ on their babies.
This comes just three months after a gibbon escaped its cage at Twycross and sent the zoo into ‘lockdown’.
Northern white-cheeked gibbons originate in Laos, Vietnam, and their long arms which are up to 1.4 times longer than their legs is their most distinct feature.
They are aboreal, which means they sleep in trees, and hunt during the day.
A spokesman for Tycross Zoo said: ‘Both newborns are yet to be named and the sex is currently unknown due to the important bonding period within the troop.’
Meanwhile black-headed spider monkeys are found in tropical lowland rainforests from Mexico to South America.
Their tails can be longer than their body and up to 85cm in comparison to an average of 9cm for a dog, and their intelligence is higher than a gorilla’s.
Spider monkeys are New World monkeys and are considered ‘higher primates’ for their IQ.
Twycross is home to one of the largest primate populations in Europe, and one of four places in the world where visitors can see all four types of Great Ape – gorilla, orang utan, chimpanzee and bonobo.
In 2016, a rare western lowland gorilla was born at the zoo – but their populations have declined by more than 60 per cent in the past two decades.
What is a spider monkey?
Spider monkeys are considered New World primates and are easily recognised by their very long tails, arms, and thumbless hands.
They live in the tropical rain forests of Central and South America and occur as far north as Mexico.
The monkeys gather in groups of two to three dozen primates and make piercing screams called whinnies to call members over to a food source.
Researchers have found the monkey species makes between two and 12 quick increases in pitch. They might curl their tail or arch their back when they encounter a threat.
Or perhaps they will shake their head to invite another monkey to play.
In 2007, a study ranked the intelligence of spider monkeys above gorillas and chimps.
The paper by James Lee and research carried out by Robert Deaner, assistant psychology professor at Grand Valley State University, claimed that the monkey had developed a brain to cope with a ‘fast-moving life’ in the trees.
Carel van Schaik, a Dutch primatologist, suggested the tree-top lifestyle sheltered the animal from risk of predators and enabled them to establish settled lives and develop culture similarly to humans.