A Northumberland zoo has been given permission to house a pair of rare monkeys.
The two male Emperor tamarins arrived at Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens in early January, as part of a move to become a member of an endangered breeding programme.
The process to become a member of the breeding programme for these rare monkeys started over a year ago and approval has just recently been confirmed.
In 2014, Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens became a full member of the British and Irish Association for Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and has since worked closely with a breeding programme coordinator to ensure that the zoo has the appropriate accommodation and skills to look after these endangered monkeys.
The breeding programme, which is managed throughout all European zoos, ensures that the best males and females are paired together. This helps to ensure that there is a large population in captivity in case the wild population was to suffer great losses, or even extinction due to deforestation and the pet trade.
Steven Sykes, animal resource centre manager at Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens, said: “We are delighted to have these Emperor Tamarins at the zoo and it’s great to be part of this programme to protect endangered species like these rare monkeys.”
Kirkley Hall houses more than 200 species of animals including other small new world monkey species such as the critically-endangered cotton-top tamarin and endangered Goeldi’s monkey.
Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens was established as a realistic learning environment for students at Northumberland College’s Kirkley Hall campus and is also open to the public on weekends and school holidays.