Another primate will be hanging around the Saint Louis Zoo this year!
A male black and white colobus monkey, also known as Guereza colobus (Guh-REZ-uh KAH-luh-bus), was born at the Saint Louis Zoo on Dec. 29, 2017. The baby, who will be named by zookeepers at a later date, and his family can be seen at the Primate House during regular Zoo hours.
Colobus infants are born with all white hair and a pink face. In contrast, adults are primarily black, with white hair encircling their faces and half of their tails. Adults have a distinctive mantle of long white hair extending from their shoulders around the edge of their backs. An infant’s hair coat will change gradually until they reach adult coloration at about 6 months.
Colobus live in multi-female families and take turns caring for newborns, which is called allomothering. Cecelia, 18, is the dominant female and an experienced mother who is taking great care of the newborn, as well as her 1-year-old daughter, Willow.
The baby will stay with mom for nursing and sleeping, but at other times throughout the day, it’s common to see Binti take the baby while mom eats or interacts with other members of the family, according to zookeepers. This is a skill necessary for female youngsters to learn so they, too, can become successful mothers in the future.
“The new baby is doing really well and becoming very interested in everything happening around him,” says Brooke Johnson, Saint Louis Zoo primate keeper and Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) institutional representative for the black and white colobus monkey. “Brother and sister, Binti and Simon, are doing a great job taking care of and looking after their new sibling; and one-year old Willow is adjusting very well to sharing her mom with her baby brother.”
The colobus monkey is found throughout the forests of east and central Africa. The birth is part of the AZA Colobus Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program to manage a genetically healthy population of black and white colobus monkeys in North American zoos. Click here for more information from the Saint Louis Zoo.