A tiny primate baby was this week delivered by Caesarean section surgery at Paignton Zoo in Devon and the strange looking monkey has been likened to Harry Potter’s arch enemy Voldemort.
A tiny primate baby has been delivered by Caesarean at Paignton Zoo. The king colobus monkey, Ivy and her mother are now being cared for around-the-clock by zoo keepers.
The procedure was performed by Paignton Zoo vet Jo Reynard. “Ivy had reached her due date but had been off her food and inactive for two days,” said Jo.
“As she was not improving with treatment, we decided to do a check-up to find out what was going on. A quick X-ray confirmed that the baby’s head was engaged in the pelvis ready to come out.”
As Ivy has given birth successfully before, initially we gave her some fluids and pain relief and returned her to the group, hoping she would give birth by herself.
“Later that evening we became concerned – her health was deteriorating and with no signs of normal labour progressing, we decided to do a Caesarean section to save Ivy’s life and that of the baby.”
Ghislaine Sayers, head of veterinary services at Paignton Zoo, said: “We have only done three C-sections here in the last 16 years. Jo, our surgeon on this occasion, has performed them on dogs, cats, cows and sheep before – but never a primate. It’s not so common in zoos – most zoo animals manage to give birth by themselves. Introducing a new life into the world is always special.”
Paignton Zoo vet nurse Kelly Elford took care of the anaesthetic on Ivy, assisted by veterinary intern Siobhan Cox. Ghislaine and senior head keeper of mammals Matt Webb were on hand to care for the baby once it was born. Mammal keepers Lewis Rowden and Nadia Gould were with Ivy throughout the day.
Jo: “The hardest bit in these circumstances is knowing when to intervene and when to leave the mum alone to give birth naturally. It is an exciting thing to be involved in, but the overriding feeling is concern for the mother and this can make you a bit apprehensive. You want to do the best job you can for her.”