While there is normally a mass exodus of people from Canberra at this time of year, at the National Zoo and Aquarium some new, permanent residents have just moved in.
Six new animals are now on display, including two female pygmy marmosets — the first time the species has been shown at the zoo.
The zoo’s team leader of Australian natives, Danielle Johinke, said the young twin sisters — Adora and Sophia — arrived about a month ago.
“They are tiny, they are the smallest monkey in the world, they weigh up to about 130 grams and can really sweetly fit in the palm of your hand,” she said.
“They are very playful together, having grown up together and being twins, so they’re really cute the way they interact.”
Dr Johinke said along with the pygmy marmosets, the zoo also welcomed a common marmoset to the enclosure right next door — allowing visitors to compare the vast size difference between the monkeys.
“We thought we actually had a very appropriate enclosure being set up already for common marmosets, but as common marmosets are a little bigger, we’re getting it adjusted for pygmies,” she said.
“We had to make sure that every tiny gap was filled.”
Dingo, lemurs, eland also go on display
But the zoo’s operations manager Renee Osterloh said the marmosets were not the only new additions.
A female eland, a rescued dingo puppy and two black and white ruffed lemur babies who have only recently emerged from their den have also been welcomed.
“The lemur babies were born only about a month or so ago to second-time parents at the zoo,” she said.
“The two babies are so curious, interactive — coming out and exploring their enclosure.
“They’re now quite visible, at first they were quite difficult to see, always hiding in their nesting boxes.”
Ms Osterloh said the arrival of the young lemurs, who have yet to be named, was particularly important as the species is endangered and the babies are expected to become important additions to the international breeding program.
She said the female eland was settling in well to her new herd and the one-year-old female dingo pup Alinta had already been introduced to her male partner.
“We’d take them for regular walks together around the back of the zoo and over the last week or so we’ve been doing introductions in the enclosure,” Ms Osterloh said.
“And we’ve actually taken her for long walks next door at the National Arboretum, so I’m sure staff in the morning were quite curious to see a dingo walking around.”