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Three miraculous monkeys

A Sichuan snub-nosed monkey, named Mei Mei from Shanghai Wildlife Park recently achieved a miraculous feat - giving birth to three babies in three consecutive years, with all of the babies surviving. But there is sweetness and bitterness in the story of the mother's life, said the park.

Sichuan snub-nosed monkey, also known as golden monkey, is among the first class national protected animals.

Mei Mei was born in 2001 in the park. With a pair of shining black eyes and smooth golden hair, she was very popular among her group. The dominant male of the group, Da Ya, loved Mei Mei and in the fall of 2008, Mei Mei was found to be pregnant for the first time.

However, while Mei Mei was expecting their first child, Da Ya suddenly fell ill and later died. Da Ya's death shocked Mei Mei, she became very sad and did not eat or sleep well.

A monkey called A Dan became the new dominant male in the group. To ensure her unborn baby was well taken care of, Mei Mei emerged from her depression and began to follow A Dan.

Unfortunately, the rather fiery A Dan was not interested in Mei Mei at all. He had his own lover, a female monkey named Yun Yun. Every time Mei Mei tried to get close to him, A Dan would yell at her and even hit her. For her unborn child's sake, Mei Mei dared not to rebel, but chose to bear his "family violence" silently.

Feeders at the park were worried that A Dan's violence toward Mei Mei would do harm to both the mother and her unborn child, so they decided to end the "unhappy marriage" and move Mei Mei to another group. Her new husband was supposed to be A Wang, the dominant male of the new group.

They first moved her to a cage opposite to A Wang's cage to forge some feelings between the couple. As hoped, the two gradually became familiar with each other and seemed to get along quite well, which made the park employees feel it was safe to put them together.

A Wang accepted his new wife and Mei Mei was also satisfied with her new home. When they stayed together alone, Mei Mei showed her love by combing A Wang's hair and cleaning his face.

As a newcomer, she also showed respect to A Wang's other lovers. When other female monkeys were around, she would keep her distance from A Wang. This humble attitude soon had her accepted by the whole group.

In 2009, after about six month in gestation, Mei Mei gave birth to her first child, the late Da Ya's child. A Wang treated the baby as his own, taking care of the mother and baby. Meanwhile, A Wang's other "concubines" also showed love to the baby.

Last year, the first child of A Wang and Mei Mei was welcomed to the world. What was more amazing was that the mother delivered another baby earlier this year. This was the first time, as far as park officials are aware, for a golden monkey to deliver babies for three consecutive years.

"Usually after delivery, a golden monkey mother needs to take a year's break before expecting a child again," said Su Feilong, an official with the park. "So Mei Mei is no doubt our 'hero mother'."

Now Mei Mei and her family are taking care of the new baby who is expected to meet visitors soon, officials said.


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