Northern Ireland news

Two new nosy arrivals join Belfast Zoo

Belfast Zoo has welcomed two new nosy arrivals, Venezuelan red Howler Monkeys to its monkey house
Marie Louise McConville

BELFAST Zoo has welcomed two new nosy arrivals to its site at Cave Hill.

The Venezuelan red Howler Monkeys, a male called Watu, aged eight, and a female called Ghuma, aged five, have moved from Leeuvarde Zoo and can now be seen in the zoo's monkey house.

Curator Andrew Hope said Howler Monkeys are "one of the loudest land animals and their vocalisations can be heard up to a few miles away, even in dense forest.

"They make a series of howling, barking and grunting noises which some people compare to the sound of wind blowing through a tunnel. However, north Belfast residents don't need to panic as, despite this primates' reputation, they spend long periods of time sitting quietly, eating or digesting food."

Howler monkeys are a South American species of new world monkey.

The species is one of the largest primates in South America and they have long prehensile tails, which they use to cling to tree branches and climb through the rainforest.

Red howler monkeys are facing increasing threats as they are heavily hunted and their territories have been reduced by human encroachment.

Meanwhile, Belfast Zoo will be running a series of eerie activities on Saturday for Halloween.

Children in full fancy dress go free and will be able to enjoy frightening face painting and creepy crafts and can watch the animals get their `trick or treat' surprises at feeding time.

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