Here is why Sussex Drusillas Zoo Park has named its newborn and critically endangered monkey 'Nigel'

  • Keepers say Nigel is happy, healthy, curious, and cheeky. (Credit: Drusillas Zoo Park)

Staff at a Sussex zoo have chosen 'Nigel' as the name to give to their newest arrival.

Zookeepers say this is because they saw the name on a list of 'critically endangered' names.

The critically endangered cotton-top tamarin monkey was born on the 17th of December at Drusillas Zoo Park.

Head keeper Gemma Romanis said: "Tying in our endangered species conservation with endangered names was an idea that came to me around the time baby was born, when I saw an article about the least popular baby names of the year. It made me feel a little sad that these names are disappearing, and I thought it could be a fun tradition to give our most endangered animals names that no one chooses anymore.

"It also becomes an entertaining way to raise awareness of the threats many of our species’ face in the wild, the more people talking about conservation the better, and it points more people to the amazing work that zoos across the country do to ensure the future survival of the world’s most threatened animals. Plus, I love the idea of some of our animals having quite traditional human names like Nigel, Bill, Carol, or Deidre, which were others on the list.”

"As well as being totally adorable, the cause for celebration is that much more when we successfully breed a critically endangered species at Drusillas. Cotton-tops are under threat of extinction in the wild due to extensive deforestation and the illegal pet trade, so the healthy arrival of Nigel provides a small but crucial boost for the population, and we’re really proud to play our part in the future survival of this beautiful primate."