An orphan monkey whose mother died the day after it was born at Magnetic Hill Zoo in Moncton, N.B., is thriving at Charlottetown's Atlantic Veterinary College.
The squirrel monkey was born on New Year's Day.
"Unfortunately, his mother was very weak after the birth," said zoo manager Bruce Doogan.
"We called our veterinarian team in and they worked intensively over the next 24 hours to try and save her, but unfortunately she succumbed to a toxic infection."
The infant monkey was rushed to the veterinary college in Charlottetown where he needed 24-hour care. Exotic pet specialist Dr. Marion Desmarchelier had to take him home every night and feed him milk from a medicine dropper.
"The first five weeks, he was waking up three or four times during the night," said Desmarchelier.
Six weeks later the monkey is thriving. Eventually he will grow to the size of a small dog, but right now he fits into Desmarchelier's hands. Squirrel monkeys have large brains for their size, and so staff at the college named the monkey Sheldon, after a character on the TV show The Big Bang Theory.
"They're very smart, so we thought he was going to be as smart as Sheldon," said Desmarchelier.
As cute as Sheldon is, Desmarchelier said squirrel monkeys are not suitable for pets.
"You know, he's pooping and peeing everywhere. He's just six weeks old and he's not really easy to control," she said.
"In a month, he's going to be completely jumping everywhere, so there's no way you can keep a monkey like this in the house."
Sheldon should be ready to head back to the Magnetic Hill Zoo in a couple of weeks, where he will be gradually introduced to the other squirrel monkeys.