Baby boom at Banham Zoo

A baby boom at Banham Zoo is keeping staff busy as the Norfolk tourist attraction bursts at the seams with new arrivals.

A baby boom at Banham Zoo is keeping staff busy as the Norfolk tourist attraction bursts at the seams with new arrivals.

The last five months has seen a much higher number of births than would normally be expected, with the two tiger cubs, Kuzma and Vasya, and Josie the giraffe calf being welcomed before Christmas.

Shortly afterwards, the zoo's pair of cheetah managed to get in on the act, producing a litter of four cubs. It is the first time Banham has bred this species -something which is known to be notoriously difficult to achieve. It is a culmination of many years hard work by staff to produce the correct environment for the graceful felines to breed, and the cubs have been sexed as two male and two females.

Since then new arrivals has continued apace, particularly among the primates, and the numbers are unprecedented.

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The zoo's pair of saki monkeys produced a single infant in March - the first time the zoo has bred this species for almost 16 years, while the colobus and Goeldi's monkeys, emperor, golden lion and golden headed lion tamarins, pygmy and Geoffroy's marmosets have also produced offspring.

Other successes include the meerkat group, which increased to 15 when three kittens were born in February, kangaroos, llamas, goats, and the zoo's female siamang which had a single infant on April Fools Day.

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Siamangs are the largest members of the gibbon family renown for their incredibly loud call, so the dawn chorus at Banham is about to get that little bit louder as there are now five in the group.

The zoo is open over Easter and on Easter Sunday there will be an Easter egg hunt and visitors can help find all of the sneaky snow leopards that are hiding around the zoo. Look out for their hidden pictures and if you spot one bring it to the Activities & Education Centre and where it be will exchange it for a yummy Easter egg! (15 years and under only, one egg per child).

For What's on see pages 34, 35 and 37.

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