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Monkey’s mum swings through the air before showing off adorable baby
January 22, 2021
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A critically endangered monkey was captured giving birth while swinging in mid-air inside its zoo enclosure in sensational pictures.
Dudley Zoo's senior keeper, Harley Hunt, hid by the window with his phone as soon as he realised what was happening.
Capturing the rare moment on camera, Harley said the Colombian black spider monkey spotted him and proudly showed off her baby almost immediately on January 10.
Harley said: "As soon as I realised Valentine was giving birth and the baby was very imminent, I grabbed my phone and hid by the window, filming through the glass while trying to watch what was unfolding at the same time.
"It was amazing to see the baby arrive around six minutes later and I felt very privileged.
"Just as she was about to birth the baby, the other spider monkeys all went outside, so she was left alone in the den, but as soon as the baby arrived, she brought it straight over to the window to show me.
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"It was an incredible moment and I felt like her proud birthing partner."
At one stage Valentine used ropes to swing herself up onto a ledge with her newborn's legs on show and then just moments later she was seen cradling the youngster while cleaning its hair.
Dudley Zoo says it is still too early to establish the sex of its second spider monkey to be born in five months.
Last August Nina was born to the group's other female, Evita, outside in the paddock in front of shocked visitors.
Both babies share the same dad in 13-year-old Chester.
Jodie Dryden, Lower Primates Team Leader, said: "Births are rare to witness, as most species usually labour at night, but both our females obviously felt comfortable enough to have their babies in front of people during the day.
"The baby is doing really well and feeding fine, and we're seeing Valentine trying to get to grips with motherhood, like every new mum, but having had Evita to watch over the last few months would have helped.
"We haven't had any baby spider monkeys for four decades, so we're really pleased to have successfully bred two of the rare primates in less than six months and helped play our part in boosting the numbers of this critically endangered species."
Colombian black spider monkeys are hunted for their meat, as well as being under threat from forest deforestation.