Los Angeles Zoo Welcomes Two Babies to the Endangered Francois’ Langur Family

CONTACT: L.A. Zoo Press

August 30, 2017


L.A. Zoo Francois Langur Mom and Baby Photo by Jamie Pham

The Los Angeles Zoo is thrilled to welcome two male Francois’ langur babies, the first born on June 23rd to eight-year-old mother Vicki Vale and the second on July 12th to five-year-old mother Kim-Ly. This is the first week the monkeys have joined their mothers and 19-year-old father Paak in the outdoor habitat to explore their new environment, a dense forest filled with tall trees and plenty of branches for climbing and swinging. The babies will eventually be introduced to the rest of the family on exhibit, 26-year-old female Mei-Chi and two-year-old Tao.

“We’re very excited for guests to be able to observe this blended family in their new group dynamic,” said Roxane Losey, Animal Keeper at the Los Angeles Zoo. “Once the two boys are a little older, they will join their brother Tao and things will probably get a little rough and tumble when they play. These monkeys are very acrobatic and like to jump and leap from branch to branch.”

The monkey babies have a long tail, striking eyes, and orange and black fur that will fade to full black over time. Francois’ langur infants nurse for close to a year, so they can often be seen in the arms of their mothers. This sometimes proves difficult for mother Vicki Vale who suffered a past injury that left her with limited mobility on her left side. Vicki Vale’s baby has adapted to the unique situation by hoisting himself onto his mother’s back in certain circumstances to leave her hands free for more challenging maneuvers when navigating the branches in the habitat. This is not a trait you would find in the wild, as it leaves the baby open to capture by predators or being knocked down by tree branches.

The babies will also spend a fair amount of time being passed around to other adult female members of the group through a practice called alloparenting, or allowing female individuals within a social group the opportunity to care for young ones that are not their own offspring. This parenting style helps the group to bond, gives experience to other young females in the group, and allows the mothers a break from being the sole caregiver. While the “it takes a village” parenting mentality can be beneficial, it doesn’t mean the animals don’t have their disagreements over how to raise the babies or how they interact with each other.

“The whole family will have minor squabbles from time to time, but you will actually see them come to each other and make up, sometimes with a hug,” said Losey. “You won’t see a lot of monkeys with this hugging behavior, but Francois’ langurs are a very gentle species.”

Francois’ langurs are a slender black monkey with long tails that can be found in the wild in southern China and northeastern Vietnam. They split their time between the trees and the ground while eating a diet consisting primarily of shoots, fruits, flowers, and bark. Francois’ langurs are currently listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List due to deforestation and being hunted for use in traditional Asian medicines on the black market.

Guests can now view the two male babies, their mothers Vikki Vale and Kim-Ly, and soon the rest of the family group in their habitat next to Tiger Plaza daily, weather permitting.

About the Los Angeles Zoo

Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the landmark Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, drawing nearly 1.8 million visitors each year, is home to a diverse collection of 1,100 animals representing 250 different species, many of which are rare or endangered. Its lush grounds on 113 acres feature a botanical collection comprising over 800 different plant species with approximately 7,000 individual plants. The Zoo is located in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways. Admission is $21 for adults and $16 for children ages 2 to 12. The Zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For information, call (323) 644-4200 or visit the L.A. Zoo Web site at www.lazoo.org.