Updated May. 21, 2014 07:27
Chinas high-ranking officials will visit the zoo at the Everland theme park in Gyeonggi Province in Korea, from Tuesday to Friday next week. They will look into golden monkeys born at the zoo and learn how to breed them. Some say that Samsungs animal diplomacy in the private sector is finally coming to fruition.
The golden monkey is the real model of the Monkey King in Journey to the West, a Chinese novel published in the 16th century, and one of the three rare animals that Beijing protects along with the Giant Panda and the Lesser Panda. Although the Chinese government strictly controls sending the monkeys abroad, it gave two male and two female golden monkeys to Everland to mark the 15th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between Korea and China in 2007.
The Monkey King (male, born in 1998), the oldest one among the four monkeys, has four baby monkeys born from the two female monkeys. As it is not easy to breed golden monkeys, the reproduction rate is below 15 percent even in China. The new born golden monkey is the third baby born between the Monkey King and a female monkey born in 2001 whose name is Son So Un. It is a very rare case that a pair of golden monkeys gave birth to three monkeys in natural breeding.
The new born golden monkey is a male, which is 20 centimeters tall and weighs 500 grams. Before being revealed to the public, it will be first shown to the government officials from the State Forestry Administration, the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens, and the China Wildlife Conservation Association.
Kwon Soo-wan, head of the Everland zoo, said, We gave the monkeys not only fruits, but also worms for protein. We offered them only organic mulberry leaves and imported oak tree leaves from China to feed them. I think our hard work and efforts finally bore fruit.
Everland started an international joint research project of endangered species including golden monkeys with the China Wildlife Conservation Association last month.