Our latest arrival at Flamingo Land is an adult male white crowned mangabey named Paddy. Visitors can see him settling into his new home in the mangabey enclosure, in between the tiger and zebra enclosures. Paddy has joined our two resident female mangabeys, Calpurnia and her daughter Sophia. We hope that in future Paddy will mate with both our females, so that perhaps next year we will have baby mangabeys at Flamingo Land. At first Paddy has been kept in a separate part of the mangabey enclosure, so that they can all get to know each other gradually. This is important as our females may not be immediately welcoming to a new mangabey in their territory. In another week or so they should all be allowed access to the whole enclosure.
Mangabeys are medium-sized monkeys from Africa, also known as Old World Monkeys (as opposed to New World Monkeys from the Americas). All mangabeys have long limbs and tails which are longer than their bodies. White crowned mangabeys have greyish-brown fur, a white underside and a white spot on top of their heads, hence their name. Males are larger than females but have the same colouring. Like all mangabeys, white crowned mangabeys have white eyelids which they use to communicate with each other by blinking. White crowned mangabeys are a subspecies of the sooty mangabey.
The majority of the world’s white crowned mangabeys are found in the western region of Ghana. White crowned mangabeys are endangered in the wild and so with the arrival of a male, Flamingo Land hopes to join a small group of zoos in Europe participating in a breeding programme for this rare species. Young mangabeys can be born at any time of year in captivity but the gestation period is approximately six months, so it will be a while yet before we see any young at Flamingo Land! Wild populations of this species have suffered from hunting by humans and habitat destruction. Exact numbers are uncertain but there may be no more than a few thousand left.
Why not stop by the mangabey enclosure next time you visit Flamingo Land and see what ours are eating? You can also see how Paddy is settling in and try and spot them blinking at each other!