Rare monkey twins fighting for survival at Trentham Monkey Forest
STAFF at a wildlife attraction are anxiously monitoring an exciting delivery of rare twin monkeys.
The pair of Barbary macaques made an appearance at Trentham Monkey Forest on Friday, a birth so rare there are only 10 other known cases reported around the world.
But with a low survival rate for twins in the species, staff say the next few days will now be crucial.
Sue Wiper, director and primatologist at the Monkey Forest, below, said: "We have never had twins at Trentham Monkey Forest before.
"It is rare in their species and, unfortunately, it doesn't always end well.
"There is a low survival rate for twins so everyday we see that they are fine is a very good day for them.
"The problem with twins is that their mother has to carry them both around and get enough food in order to produce enough milk for both of them.
"We'll be keeping a very close eye on them."
The tourist attraction usually welcomes between six and 10 new arrivals each year.
Their first newborn for 2012 came around a fortnight ago and the twins are the third and fourth to be born this season.
Their mother, top, has four other sons and daughters living within her group and her motherhood experience will be critical in the coming days as she cares for her newborn twins.
Sue added: "The mother was a big female and everyone kept speculating that she might be carrying twins.
"The monkeys give birth in trees during the night so we never see it, but we spotted them on Friday morning.
"She is a very good mum so we'll keep our fingers crossed for her.
"She seems to be okay at the moment.
"We always get a good reaction from visitors when they see babies at the park.
"Some visitors saw the twins on Friday, but they were lucky.
"There has been times when she has been near the path with the twins but what mothers do depends on their mothering styles.
"We can't guarantee people will see them if they visit."
One of the twins is a male, but staff have not yet determined the sex of the other baby.
Because staff members don't intervene during the births, they have to wait until they catch a good glimpse of any new arrivals in order to find out whether they are male or female.
Rebecca Scott, aged 27, from Clayton, regularly takes her four-year-old son on day trips to the monkey forest.
The call centre worker said: "Josh enjoys seeing all the monkeys but loves it when there are babies.
"We like going back and watching them get bigger.
"It would be good to go and see the twins, especially if it is rare to have them.
"I hope they pull through okay."