Crowd puller Pygmy Marmoset species back in Taiping Zoo

THE smallest monkey in the world, the Pygmy Marmoset is back at the Taiping Zoo.

The primates, which were the crowd-puller for the zoo in the 1990s, died due to a parasite.

Zoo director Dr Kevin Lazarus said most of the Pygmy Marmoset died by 1998 due to the parasite carried by a beetle which when consumed damaged the animal’s intestine.

“But with the new pair which we acquired at a cost of RM12,000 on Jan 10, we hope to breed them again,” he told a recent press conference to announce new additions and births of animals at the zoo.

Dr Lazarus said the pair was acquired from a private breeder based in Holland via its agent in Penang.

Pygmy Marmoset, scientifically known as Callithrix pygmaea, feeds on fruits and insects and has a life span of about 12 years.

Dr Lazarus added that no other zoo in the country had the primate for public display.

The “stork” was kept busy as the zoo also recorded the birth of a Malayan Gaur or Seladang on Jan 12, a Serow or Kambing Gurun on Jan 28 and six heads of Scarlet Ibis, a bird which originates from south and central America.

“We have had several Seladang births previously but they were given away to other zoos under our animal-exchange programme,” said Dr Lazarus.

On Scarlet Ibis, Dr Lazarus said nine birds were acquired in August 2010 but its population had more than doubled now.

On Feb 6, six birds were successfully hatched in one of the bird’s nests, added Dr Lazarus.

The Scarlet Ibis is the national bird of Trinidad and Tobago.

On the Serow, Dr Lazarus said the zoo now has a total of four animals for public display.

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