Monkey madness as troop arrives

There's been a lot of monkeying around at Mogo Zoo this week with the arrival of another 12 cheeky primates.

The active capuchin monkeys arrived at Mogo Zoo last week after a 13-hour journey from New Zealand’s Franklin Zoo.

They were placed in individual crates and flown to Sydney, where they were picked up by Mogo Zoo staff and placed in their behind-the-scenes enclosure early Friday morning.

They will spend 30 days under quarantine before they’re placed in their new exhibit in early January.

They all have individual names and it didn’t take long for zoo general manager John Appleby to find the monkeys all had their own personalities.

The South American capuchin monkeys are famous for their appearance in a slap scene in box office hit Night at the Museum.

They haven’t slapped anyone yet, but the group is still settling in.

It seems the dynamics of the troop of seven male and five female monkeys has changed since their move.

“They are in a new environment, it just changes their relationship with each other,” Mr Appleby said.

Their old home at Franklin Zoo closed earlier this year after tragedy struck when the zoo director, Helen Schofield, lost her life in an accident with an elephant.

Mogo Zoo owner Sally Padey was in New Zealand at the time and rushed over to offer her support.

She agreed to take the 12 monkeys on board, and possibly a spider monkey down the track.

Staff started preparing for the monkeys’ arrival and built a new exhibit near the entrance gates.

Eventually the new exhibit will join with the current enclosure for the silvery gibbons, so the monkeys will have three compartments to swing around in.

The silvery gibbons will be moved into another new enclosure.

Franklin Zoo closed its doors in April but the animals are still being cared for until new homes can be found. Spokeswoman Jenny Chung was pleased the capuchins had found a safe new home.

She thanked everyone involved that helped give “…Dr Helen Schofield’s beloved capuchin monkeys a new home and providing them with a bright future, a wonderful new habitat and an excellent skill base to look after their welfare needs”. 

“The Trust is so very grateful that this family of 12 monkeys will be very well taken care of in their new home.”

In the wild, capuchins can live to 15 to 25 years but, in captivity, they live to a maximum of 45.

Mr Appleby said the new monkeys would be placed on exhibit in the first week of January – just in time for the school holiday rush.

They’ll also form part of the zoo’s species management program.

Mr Appleby said the species were at risk and the zoo would “potentially be breeding in the future”.

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