The first baby Roloway monkey born in the UK has been named Kumasi by award winning Yorkshire Wildlife Park after a vital conservation project to save the species.
His birth at the 150-acre park was the triumph for staff and underscores the importance of the European breeding programme and funding local initiatives around the world to boost rare species’ survival.
Roloway monkeys, which have striking black and white markings and a distinguished white beard, are native to Ghana and the Ivory Coast in West Africa, but are on the verge of extinction because of hunting and loss of mature forest where they live in groups of 15 to 30.
Only 200 Roloways are left in the wild but projects, supported by the Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation, which is based at the park, have achieved recent success with field surveys gathering information and clamping down on poaching in the Kwabwe forest, in Ghana.
Kumasi, which means Tree of Life, was born on October 12 at the park at Branton, near Doncaster, to parents Kayla and Rafiki, the only pair of Roloway monkeys in the country.
“We are delighted to be able to finally announce the newest baby Roloway monkey’s name. Kumasi is settling in and doing great,” said Primate Team Leader Greg Clifton.
“We decided to name him after the conservation project in Ghana because we appreciate and support all the work that they are doing to help keep the monkeys and other endangered animals safe. We thought this was a great way to recognise what they are doing. ”
Kumasi is already exploring his surroundings and a video diary is being kept of his development.
Dr. Matt Hartley, Head of Animals, added “Kumasi is so important for the future of the species which faces extinction every day in the wild, due to deforestation and the bush-meat trade. This species is one of the World’s 25 Most Endangered primates and is classed as critically endangered.
“There are only about 200 Roloway monkeys left in the wild and 33 Individuals living in zoos around the world, so they face an uncertain future.
“Thanks to funding from the Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation, rangers from the park will be taking part in a three-year project in Ghana to support conservation efforts in the wild for this and other critically endangered African primates.”
Yorkshire Wildlife Park, which is home to the country’s only polar bears, lions, tigers, giraffes and many more, is open daily with timeslots for entry and advance tickets only as part of the Covid secure precautions.