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Zoo celebrates new arrivals from lockdown baby boom

A marmoset at Amazona Zoo in Cromer. Picture: Chris Taylor/Supplied by Amazona

A marmoset at Amazona Zoo in Cromer. Picture: Chris Taylor/Supplied by Amazona

(C) Chris Taylor Photo

A Norfolk zoo has seen a lockdown baby boom, with Patagonian hares, a marmoset and bird-of-prey chicks joining the exotic population.

Spencer, the marmoset dad, with the new baby at Amazona Zoo in Cromer. Picture: Supplied by AmazonaSpencer, the marmoset dad, with the new baby at Amazona Zoo in Cromer. Picture: Supplied by Amazona

Staff at Amazona Zoo in Cromer are celebrating the births, which happened while the attraction was closed during the lockdown.

Imogen White, the zoo’s head keeper, said: “Lockdown has been a very interesting and busy time, not only for us but for our birds and mammals.

“We have had much to celebrate despite the anguish of not being able to open while we were in lockdown.”

The eight Patagonian hares are from a species called mara. They have bodies resembling small deer, and fully-grown mara can reach speeds of up to 28 miles per hour, useful for escaping predators.

Amazona Zoo keeper Sam Fowler with a striated caracara chick. Picture: Supplied by AmazonaAmazona Zoo keeper Sam Fowler with a striated caracara chick. Picture: Supplied by Amazona

The new marmoset, a South American monkey, was the first offspring to be born to its parents at the zoo.

Ms White said: “The parents, Marj and Spencer, were only paired about six months ago and their happy union soon welcomed their first offspring.

“They have been fantastic parents and share carrying their baby who was born in April.”

The birds, from a species called striated caracara, were hatched on June 20.

The highly intelligent species is also known as Johnny Rook.

They are found predominantly in the Falkland Islands and small islands off Tierra del Fuego.

Once abundant in numbers, there are now only 500 pairs left in the Falklands.

The adults’ plumage is almost black in colour, while the legs and lores are orange and the neck is flecked with grey.

The first-year juveniles have an orange or light red down, which they lose after their first molt.

Full adult plumage is acquired only in the fifth year.

Ms White said: “Both caracara adults have been resident at the zoo for 12 years and last year was the first time that they tried to nest but weren’t successful, so this year we are celebrating.

“Both parents have shared the duties of feeding their young after the female sat on the eggs for approximately 32 days.”

The zoo reopened on June 22 as the lockdown restrictions were eased. Visitors need to book online before their visit, which can be done at https://amazonazoo.co.uk.

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