Monkeying around with Bart

10 April 2014

In this month’s animal profile we speak to keeper Harna about Bart the 12 year-old Squirrel Monkey from Melbourne Zoo.

Bart and his three brothers have travelled quite a distance to get to Melbourne, first arriving around four years ago after growing up in Apenheul Zoo in the Netherlands.

Bart is the dominate male within the group, making sure they all get along, only stepping in if his younger brothers step out of line. Like all Squirrel Monkeys, Bart is very inquisitive about new things and new people but is also very naughty, constantly testing the boundaries with his keepers.

Despite this, Bart is always very happy to see his keepers and eagerly greets them when they enter his exhibit. This is especially the case if they are carrying his favourite treats of dried fruits and grapes which they use for Bart’s training sessions. His day-to-day diet consists of a variety of fruit, vegetable, insects and browse.

The Squirrel Monkey is indigenous to South America and is classified as vulnerable in the wild. The main risk to their survival is the loss of habitat through logging and farming and also the illegal pet trade.