Alexandra Park Zoo has welcomed a four-year-old cotton-top tamarin named Philippe to the region after relocating from the National Zoo and Aquarium in Canberra.
The male monkey has been transported as part of conservation efforts, with zookeepers hopeful he will become a companion for Turbo after she lost her mother Solita earlier this year.
It's an exciting time, according to Alexandra Park Zoo group supervisor Kate Beskeen, who said positive interaction was important for cotton-tops tamarin's as they were highly social animals.
“Alexandra Park Zoo was previously home to the region’s oldest surviving Cotton-top Tamarin, Solita, who at the age of 24 years sadly passed away on 15 January 2023,” she said.
“Solita was survived by her daughter Turbo, now aged 12 years.
“We have been working closely with the Zoo and Aquarium Association Species Coordinator for Cotton-top tamarins to source the most suitable individual to place with Turbo.
“We are very excited to welcome Philippe who will become a companion for Turbo as she deals with the loss of her mother, and we’re hopeful that they may become a breeding pair in the future.”
Kate said Philippe was a lively character.
“We are told he loves boiled egg, mealworms, grapes, blueberries and steamed sweet potato, pumpkin, and beetroot,” she said.
“Philippe has always been confident and friendly towards his keepers, and we can't wait to introduce him to the community.”
Kate said before Philippe could meet zoo visitors, a period of adjustment was needed to allow time to settle in to his new environment and get to know his new keepers.
“For Philippe's welfare the decision has been made to close the barn, where the cotton-top exhibit is located, on Friday 31 March to allow him to rest, take time to explore his surroundings and meet Turbo,” she said.
“If Philippe appears to be doing well the barn will be re-opened on Saturday 1 April.”
Find out more about Alexandra Park Zoo here.