San Diego Zoo Wildlife Care Team Welcomes First Endangered François’ Langur Baby in Five Years

| July 3, 2024 | 0 Comments

This past April, the San Diego Zoo’s Wildlife Care team was greeted with an exciting development. Meili (pronounced may-lee)an endangered François’ langur under pregnancy observation for several months, gave birth to a vibrant orange infant overnight. This marks the Zoo’s first François’ langur birth since 2019, introducing a critical new member to the dwindling species population.

11-year-old Meili (pronounced may-lee) is shown with her soon to be named infant.

The new arrival is the offspring of 11-year-old Meili, whose first infant, Chi, now seven, lives in a separate habitat with another young langur. The Wildlife Care staff reports that both mother and baby are in good health, crediting this to Meili’s gentle nature.

“We are always thrilled when a birth goes smoothly and results in a healthy infant,” said Joe Milo, senior wildlife care specialist at the San Diego Zoo. “This time, our established trust with Meili allowed us to perform abdominal ultrasounds, confirming and monitoring her pregnancy. She has become the first monkey at our zoo trained for ultrasound, which is a significant achievement.”

François’ langurs, native to southwestern China and northeastern Vietnam, are known for their infants’ distinctive bright orange hair, which darkens to black as they mature. With just over 2,000 individuals left, they are listed as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species due to hunting, habitat loss and agricultural expansion, which have reduced their population by over 50 percent in the last four decades.

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance plays a crucial role not only locally, but as a global conservation advocate. Since introducing François’ langurs in 1980 — the first facility in the Western Hemisphere to do so — San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance has shown its dedication to preserving global biodiversity.

Langurs are now part of an Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan that manages their genetic diversity through strategic breeding, helping establish a healthy François’ langur population in zoos across the United States.

“Given their low population numbers, this birth is crucial for the species’ survival, both in human care and globally,” added Milo.


Category: Animals, Events, Historical, Local News, National News, Nature, Nonprofit

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