Colobus monkey added to 2020 baby roster
CINCINNATI, OH (June 2, 2020) – A tiny guereza colobus monkey arrived early Friday morning, just in time for the tail end of Zoo Babies month at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden! Mom, six-year-old Anza, and baby, sex not yet determined, are doing great and bonding with the rest of the group.
“The baby is strong and nursed right away! Pop, Tiberius, is very gentle and protective, as always and the three big brothers, TJ, Octavius and Max, are behaving so far,” said Cincinnati Zoo’s curator of primates Ron Evans.
Colobus monkeys are born snowy white so they can be spotted easily in the thick rainforest canopy where they live. All colobus females look after each other’s kids, called alloparenting, as they play around in the thick treetops. Their bright coloration makes it easier for everyone to spot the little ones as they transfer from babysitter to babysitter and back to mom. Life in the trees makes it very important to grow up quick so by 6 months old they are traveling around very well off of mom and get their full adult camouflaged coloration.
“The dad, considered a senior at 25-years-old, doesn’t help with the babysitting. That’s okay, and the way it would work in the wild. His genetic contribution is significant and his offspring add diversity to the North American Zoo population,” said Evans.
This species was once thought to be abnormal because it has no thumbs. or only a stub where the digit would usually be. The word “colobus” means deformed in latin. The lack of a thumb aids colobus in securely grabbing branches as they make dramatic 30 feet leaps from tree to tree. They are entirely vegetarian and equipped with a three-chambered stomach to help digest large amounts of leaves. The biggest threat to the colobus is habitat loss. When forests are cut down to make room for agriculture, settlements, and roads, the colobus monkey loses its home.
Guereza colobus monkeys are a success story resulting from proactive collaboration between Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) institutions like the Cincinnati Zoo and the Colobus Monkey Species Survival Plan (SSP) to provide them with exemplary care and careful genetic management. Their North American population is healthy at about 180 individuals. Zoos do not remove colobus from the wild with these beautiful monkeys serving as ambassadors for their wild counterparts threatened by deforestation and illegal poaching.
Zoo Babies is presented by First Financial Bank.