It’s always exciting news when a new baby animal is born, but it’s even better when they’re part of an endangered species. Each new birth is an important step preventing extinction and ensuring the species lives on for another generation.
Which is why one zoo is celebrating the new arrival of an endangered baby Francois’ langur — who also happens to be very adorable.
The Francois’ langur — also known as the Francois’ leaf monkey or the Tonkin leaf monkey — is a primate species native to Southwest China and Vietnam.
They are an endangered species: an estimated 50% of Francois’ langurs have disappeared in the wild over the past few decades, due to hunting and loss of habitat.
But now, there is one more in the world: the Saint Louis Zoo recently announced that a baby Francois’ langur was born on September 30.
The newborn is a female and has been named “Rhubarb.” She makes history as the first Francois’ langur to be born at the zoo. The birth was part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Francois’ Langur Species Survival Plan, a plan to save the species population through in-captivity breeding.
Rhubarb’s parents are mom Dolly and dad Deshi. In a press release, the zoo said that Dolly experienced some health issues after the baby’s birth, and both the mom and baby received round-the-clock care and feeding to make sure they were okay.
Thankfully, the two have now recovered and are bonding in a private area of their habitat.
“Dolly has been a phenomenal mother and, through the benefit of her having a great relationship with the keeper staff, has been incredibly accommodating to the supportive care that she and Rhubarb needed to get back on track,” said Ethan Riepl, Primate Keeper and Francois’ Langur Species Survival Plan Vice Coordinator. “She deserves all the credit in the world for our success.”
Baby Rhubarb is quite adorable and has bright, distinct “pumpkin orange” fur. However, Francois’s langurs only look like that when they’re babies.
Adults of the species have primarily black, silky fur, with distinct white “sideburns” on their faces. In about six months, Rhubarb’s orange fur will have turned black.
In addition to the baby and her two parents, the zoo is also home to two other langurs: an older male named Marc and a 15-year-old female named Sydney, who also helps care for the newborn — an important development for the zoo’s langurs.
“For any species like langurs that practice allomothering, proper maternal care is an important skill for females to learn and to gain experience in,” Riepl said in the press release. “With this being our first ever langur birth here at the Saint Louis Zoo, Rhubarb has been a valuable addition to our langur troop and has provided both Dolly and Sydney with a great opportunity to develop those skills.”
All in all this is a great news: the zoo called the birth “a wonderful achievement for this species and the Zoo,” and an “important birth for this endangered species.”
What an adorable baby Francois’ langur — and great news for this endangered species.
Please share this great news to welcome this precious baby to the world ❤️