Henry Vilas Zoo Welcomes Twin Baby Geoffroy’s Marmosets
December 13, 2011
Ronda Schwetz, Interim Henry Vilas Zoo Director, 608.444.8811, or Casey Slaughter Becker, Office of the County Executive 608.267.8823 or cell, 608.843.8858
County Executive Joe Parisi encouraged county residents and visitors to stop by the Henry Vilas Zoo to help welcome the newest zoo inhabitants – twin Geoffroy Marmosets birthed by parents ‘Yao’ and ‘Iris.’
The marmoset twins were born on October 17th, 2011. The birth is part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP) of the Association of Zoos and Aquarium (AZA) recommendations to help conserve this species.
“These twin marmosets are a great new addition to the county’s zoo family, and a testament to the zoo’s ongoing success in preserving worldwide animal populations for future generations,” said Parisi. “Visiting these fascinating animals in their warm, indoor habitat can be a great break during this busy holiday season.”
Geoffrey's marmosets are found in the forests of Brazil in South America, and the zoo’s animals are on loan from the government of Brazil. The marmosets diet consists of fruit, insects, and gums from trees in the wild. Zoo staff supplement this regimen a special diet specifically for small monkeys.
Interim Zoo Director Ronda Schwetz reports that both babies are doing well. “Geoffrey's marmosets are excellent parents who jointly share infant care duties. The male will be the one carrying the twins most often and pass them back to the mom for nursing,” said Schwetz.
Schwetz added that visitors can see the infants riding on their parent's back, their hair pattern helping to camouflage them so they blend in with their parent for safety. In the wild all members of a marmoset troop will carry the young. The zoo’s twin marmosets, whose sexes are unknown, have just started to venture off of Mom and Dad for brief periods of time.
Visitors can see the baby twins at the zoo’s Tropical Aviary Exhibit, open daily from 10am to 4pm. Zoo admission, as always, is free to the public.
The Zoo continues to celebrate it’s 100th Anniversary and there is something for everyone in the family to enjoy. For a full list of the events going on this year, citizens are encouraged to visit www.vilaszoo.org.