A male Black-and-white Colobus Monkey was born at the Saint Louis Zoo on December 29. Zookeepers will name the baby at a later date, but visitors can see the new family 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 each other’s newborns, which is known as ‘allomothering’. Eighteen-year-old, Cecelia, is the dominant female and an experienced mother who is taking great care of the newborn, as well as her one-year-old daughter, Willow. Also in the family, or troop, are brothers Ziggy (age 2) and Simon (3), and their half-sister, Binti (4). Eleven-year-old father Kima can be seen watching stoically over his family and interacting with the youngsters.
The baby will stay with mom for nursing and sleeping. But at other times throughout the day, it’s will be common to see older sister, 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 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 Abyssinian Black-and-white Colobus Monkey (Colobus guereza), also known as the Mantled Guereza, the Guereza, or the Eastern Black-and-white Colobus is a Black-and-white Colobus (a type of Old World monkey).
Black-and-white Colobuses (or colobi) are monkeys of the genus Colobus and are native to Africa. They are closely related to the Brown Colobus Monkeys of genus Piliocolobus.
The new birth at the Saint Louis Zoo 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.