New bushbaby explores Lincoln Park Zoo

Tribune reporter

A tiny Moholi bushbaby born in mid-January has ventured out of the nest for the first time, Lincoln Park Zoo officials said today.

The South American primate weighed only about 0.3 of an ounce when it was born, and it stayed hiding in the nest until it more than quadrupled in size, according to a zoo release.

"Unlike other primates, bushbabies do not hitch a ride with mom or dad," said Diane Mulkerin, curator of the Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House. "They stay hidden in the nest until they are strong enough to venture out an join in foraging for food."

Moholi bushbabies are active at night, with large ears and eyes for seeing and hearing predators, according to the zoo. They have strong legs and are highly acrobatic as they spring around tree branches, using their comparatively long tails to maintain balance.

Fewer than 20 Moholi bushbabies are in U.S. zoos, so officials are pleased with the addition, which appears in good health and developing normally.

"This birth is significant, both because the zoo population is so small and because it means our breeding pair here at Lincoln Park Zoo is a good match," Mulkerin said.

Staff does not yet know the gender of the new bushbaby.
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