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Baby langur birth is a Christmas surprise at Zoo Knoxville

Contributed To The Press • Dec 30, 2017 at 12:00 AM

KNOXVILLE — Staff caring for the family of newly arrived langurs at Zoo Knoxville discovered a Christmas surprise when they arrived at work on Dec. 21 — a bright orange newborn.

The family of silvered leaf langurs, made up of male Walter, female Teagan and Teagan’s adolescent daughter Melody, had arrived in Knoxville on Dec. 14 from the Santa Ana Zoo in California. New mother Teagan had shown no signs of pregnancy or labor leading up to the birth.

The bright orange infant is healthy and nursing and being closely monitored by their caretakers. Langur babies will keep their striking coloring for three to six months, then begin to transition to darker fur like the other members of their group. It has not been determined if the yet-to-be-named infant is a boy or a girl.

Zoo Knoxville is one of only five zoos in the country to work with this species, which is threatened in their native range in Borneo and Sumatra, and the southwestern Malay peninsula. Their habitat is being destroyed by logging and the development of palm oil plantations. The species is also threatened by hunting and by capture for the pet trade.

The newly arrived langurs will be the first residents of Zoo Knoxville’s Langur Landing, which will be opening in conjunction with the new Gibbon Trails habitats in the Boyd Family Asian Trek in March.

Knoxville’s largest attraction, the zoo is open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Admission and ticket sales stop one-hour before the zoo closes. For more information, visit zooknoxville.org.

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