By Brad Jones.
Six L’Hoest’s monkeys have been ringfenced by Edinburgh Zoo as it considers implementing swinging budget cuts in the face of falling visitor numbers.
The monkeys, which moved to Edinburgh from San Diego are said to have ‘settled in really well’ by Graham Catlow, Animal Project Design Officer at the zoo. Mr. Catlow went on to say that the move has been aided by the fact that the cages are quite similar to what the monkeys are used to from San Diego, and difficulties in temperature difference are being avoided thanks to an indoor area provided for the monkeys that is kept at a temperature between twenty and twenty five Celsius, with constant access to the outside available to the animals. Edinburgh Zoo has had previous success in producing breeding pairs, their last pair having given birth to three monkeys in recent years. The wild population of these animals is predicted to drop by 30% over the next thirty years.
The zoo is facing budget cuts after 60,000 less people visited the attraction over the past year. This drop in attendance is being attributed to bad weather over the Summer and has already resulted in the zoo closing its exotic bird enclosure and its Rainbow Landings exhibit, which is said to have cost around £350,000. Despite this, Mr. Catlow maintained that there is ‘no way’ cuts will affect the animals, and that the animals are ‘always the first priority’ for the zoo.
These comments seem at odds with the culling of two endangered Red River Hogs at Edinburgh Zoo just two weeks ago after they said that they were unable to look after them, provoking outrage from animal rights organisations and their supporters. However, as numbers of L’Hoest’s monkeys dwindle, Edinburgh Zoo seems to be the best chance for the continued survival of this species.