FRANCOIS LANGUR SURPRISES AT SF ZOO – ON SCENE WITH BILL WILSON

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An unexpected bundle of joy
Photo By Bill Wilson © 2010

BY BILL WILSON
Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson © 2010

There was a surprise three days ago in the Francois’ langur exhibit at the SF Zoo. When the animal keepers entered the exhibit they discovered an unexpected new addition. Unexpected because the mother had been implanted with a birth control device that obviously didn’t work, although keepers think it might have been removed by the grooming that the Francois’ langur do to each other.

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Mother eats greens as baby looks on
Photo By Bill Wilson © 2010

It was fascinating to watch the other Francois’ langurs in the exhibit reacting with the little one. The maternal instinct is strong in all of the females in the exhibit so they take turns holding the baby and can be quite forceful in their desire to have their turn with the baby. There was more than one exchange where the baby could be heard to scream while the adults are holding on to it. The keeper assured those watching that it was quite normal behavior and the baby wasn’t being hurt.

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The baby with one of his aunts
Photo By Bill Wilson © 2010

I got the best photos while the animals were being feed around noon. The mother at first had her back to where I was standing because the keepers were putting greens through the wire of the cage. However after a few minutes the mother became annoyed at one of the other Francois’ langur who kept grabbing things from everyone. The mother grabbed a few leaves and turned away. She found a perch and faced were I was standing.

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The maternal instinct in action as the baby gets a hug from one of its aunts
Photo By Bill Wilson © 2010

However, as one life cycle begins another nears its end. The zoo’s Baird’s tapir has cancer and is not expected to survive much longer. He will spend his last days in the display where he is currently living. There had been plans to move him to new exhibit space but those plans were cancelled when it was discovered that he has cancer which has spread through out his body because it is in the bloodstream. Efforts will be made to keep him as comfortable as possible for as long as humanely possible in surroundings he knows and is used to.

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The Zoo’s Baird’s Tapir
Photo By Bill Wilson © 2010

The flamingo chicks currently at four continue to thrive and grow. The little one with two dads is still getting regurgitated food spilled on his head so its’ feathers are matted down. It doesn’t look as fluffy as the others but they are getting bigger and standing on one leg longer and steadier. There are still three more eggs that are being sat on., two are expected to hatch within the next 24 hours.

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The flamingo chicks at 20 days
Photo By Bill Wilson © 2010

See Related: ON SCENE WITH BILL WILSON ARCHIVE

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BILL WILSON
Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson is a San Francisco-based veteran photojournalist. Bill embraced photojournalism at the age of eight. In recent years, his photos capture historic record of the San Francisco LGBT community in the Bay Area Reporter (BAR), The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner, SFist, SFAppeal. Bill has contributed to the Sentinel for the past six years. Email Bill Wilson at wfwilson@sbcglobal.net.

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