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article imageGerman monkey stud to be moved to Czech zoo after 50 babies

By Anne Sewell     Feb 10, 2014 in World
Leipzig - Purus, a 10-year-old squirrel monkey, has been the only breeding male available for the 53 females at Halle Zoo near Leipzig. After siring 50 babies, the zoo says enough is enough, and he is being moved to a Czech zoo to prevent possible incest.
According to Jutta Heuer, the monkey keeper at the Halle Zoo, "If we had a hundred females then there would be even more babies."
Purus arrived at the zoo in 2009 and since he has been there, 25 of the females in the zoo have produced an impressive 50 babies, thanks to his ministrations.
Heuer told The Local that 18 babies were born in 2013 alone, of which 13 survived.
Purus is now set to hit the road and seek fresh pastures. The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), which runs an international breeding program for the species, says he must move on before the spring breeding season starts. For this reason he is heading to the Zlin Zoo in the Czech Republic.
According to Heuer, incest can sometimes happen in the wild, but it is always a danger as "it can cause the offspring to have genetic defects."
"This can lead to illness and conditions the animal may not have had otherwise – for example albinism," she added.
The program run by EAZA also wishes to avoid inbreeding in order to preserve genetic variation in the species. Heuer explained that when relatives breed together, you lose genetic material and as much variety as possible is required to be kept within the gene pool.
Purus will no doubt continue his impressive feats at his new home. Fortunately he will be able to continue, unlike a healthy, 18-month-old giraffe which was recently put down in front of an audience (including children) in a Danish zoo, allegedly to avoid inbreeding. The poor giraffe ended up as lion fodder.
More about Germany, squirrel monkey, Zoo, Inbreeding, Incest
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