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ANIMALS

Rare monkey born in French zoo

An exceptionally rare Roloway monkey has been born at a zoo in eastern France that is striving to preserve one of the most endangered primate species on the planet.

Rare monkey born in French zoo
Hans Hillewaert

The baby was born at Mulhouse Zoo, which is coordinating the European Endangered Species Programme to save the Roloway monkeys, native to a small

area of eastern Ivory Coast and the forests of Ghana.

The two-week-old baby has been named Owabi after a wildlife sanctuary in western Ghana.

There are fewer than 200 Roloway monkeys remaining in the wild and only 27 in captivity, Mulhouse Zoo veterinarian Benoit Quintard said.

"The Cercopithecus Roloway is a very endangered species," he said. "Births of this species are very rare in zoos." Roloway monkeys are between 44 and 57 centimetres (17 and 22 inches) long, with tails that can reach lengths of 86 centimetres (34 inches), and on average weigh about five kilogrammes (11 pounds).

Predominantly black, with white areas at the throat and the interior side of the arms, Roloway monkeys are distinguished by their pointed white beards.

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TOURISM

France’s Asterix park to shut down dolphin show

A major amusement park in northern France said on Monday it would close its dolphin and sea lion aquarium, the day before lawmakers start to debate new animal welfare rules.

France's Asterix park to shut down dolphin show
France has long discussed imposing stricter rules on using wild animals in amusement parks. Illustration photo: AFP

The dolphin shows are a popular attraction at Parc Asterix, which normally has some two million visitors a year, but have long been a target of animal rights activists.

“We've been thinking about this for several years,” the park's managing director Nicolas Kremer told Le Parisien newspaper, saying the site wanted to focus instead on rides and other shows.

He said the dolphins would be transferred to other aquariums in Europe in the next two months, adding: “Reintroduction in a natural environment is not possible for these animals raised in captivity.”

A ban on captive breeding of dolphins and other marine mammals as well as their use in shows is a key part of the draft law, with the debate due to begin on Tuesday.

A previous effort to outlaw the practices by decree in 2017 was thrown out by the Council of State, France's highest administrative court, but animal rights group have kept up pressure for the ban.

“These associations think that captivity is abuse, but I can tell you that we have always ensured the wellbeing of our animals,” Kremer said.

The park, based on the beloved Asterix the Gaul comics, is hoping to reopen for the busy summer season on April 3rd if coronavirus restrictions are lifted by then.

READ ALSO: Disneyland Paris to begin 'phased reopening' in July

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