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Watch first playtime of baby monkey — named for his brightly colored fur — at UK zoo

A monkey perched on a branch at a zoo in the United Kingdom held a little treasure: a small orange baby peeking out from the safety of his mom’s arms.

Meet Citrus, a newborn Francois langur monkey.

Citrus was born at Whipsnade Zoo on Aug. 6 and weighed about 16 ounces at birth, zoo officials said in a Sept. 4 news release. For weeks, the baby boy clung to his mother, Lee Lee, and “remained mostly hidden.”

Now, 4-week-old Citrus is becoming “more inquisitive” and started exploring his home, the news release said. Photos show the fiery orange monkey looking around and clinging to a cargo strap.

Citrus clings to a cargo strap.
Citrus clings to a cargo strap.

Video footage shared by the Whipsnade Zoo with McClatchy Newsshows the baby monkey’s first playtime. In the video, Citrus grabs and smacks several branches, tries to bite the plants, and licks part of the elevated wooden platform. Another adult Francois langur monkey is nearby and seems to keep an eye on the small adventurer.

Zookeepers nicknamed the newborn Citrus because of “his brightly-coloured fur,” the release said. They’ll give him a “permanent name” after seeing his personality.

“We are over the moon that he is here — growing stronger and more confident by the day — and that visitors can now see him,” zookeeper Hayley Jakeman said in the release.

“While his distinct fur will help visitors to spot Citrus, over the next few months his bright locks will start fading to black,” Jakeman said. Eventually, the baby will take on the characteristic features of adult Francois langur monkeys: “inquisitive expressions and white, prominent ‘sideburns,’” she said.

Citrus explores his habitat while staying close to an adult Francois langur monkey.
Citrus explores his habitat while staying close to an adult Francois langur monkey.

Francois langur monkeys are an endangered species from China and northern Vietnam, the release said. Experts estimate that only about 2,000 of these monkeys still live in the wild.

For this reason, “caring for a back-up population in zoos is vital to protecting (the species’) future,” Jakeman said.

Whipsnade Zoo is in Dunstable, about 35 miles northwest of London.

UPDATE: The article was updated on Sept. 7 after the Whipsnade Zoo shared video footage of the monkey with McClatchy News.

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