Early this year, the Central Florida Zoo welcomed a lesser spot nosed guenon. This colorful little guy is doing well and contributes to the small guenon population in other US zoos helping researchers develop new conservation efforts.
LESSER SPOT-NOSE GUENON BORN AT THE
CENTRAL FLORIDA ZOO & BOTANICAL GARDENS
Sanford, FL (February 25, 2008) – Monday morning, February 11, keepers and staff of the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens found a surprise waiting for them -- a baby lesser spot-nosed guenon. “Mom and baby are doing well. In fact, the keepers have determined that the baby guenon is very precocious and already attempting to experience its surroundings,” says Bonnie Breitbeil, Zoo Curator. Also on exhibit is a sibling, which is very curious and ready to play with the infant who will continue to nurse for up to four months.
The lesser spot-nosed guenon is very rare in zoos, less than 25 are on exhibit in AZA zoos throughout the country, and the Central Florida Zoo is one of only a handful of zoos reproducing the primate. “There is a science behind animal breeding and conservation of animals is paramount; many endangered species entrusted to our care may soon be extinct in the wild. We’re very excited to be a part of the conservation efforts for the guenon,” Breitbeil went on to say. Species Survival Plans (SSP) coordinated through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, are attempting to maintain genetic diversity to ensure healthy, vigorous animals to reproduce now and in the future. The Central Florida Zoo participates in 11 SSPs which includes the guenon.
The lesser spot-nosed guenon is found on the west coast of Africa, from Gambia to Ghana. They live in forests, swampy areas, thickets and the fringe forests in the Guinea savanna. Spot-nosed guenons generally live in the lower layer of the forest canopy.
The spot-nosed guenon gets its name from the white oval patch on the nose. The guenon weighs up to 8 pounds and is 14-18 inches in length. The tail, which is used for balance, is approximately two feet in length.
Guenons are diurnal. The troop number ranges from 10-40 animals. Only the females are permanent; the males leave at puberty to live a solitary life or join another mixed sex group. Their main predator in the wild is the crowned eagle. Guenons have separate alarm calls for ground and aerial predators. The spot-nosed guenon feeds mainly on fruit, invertebrates (mostly insects) and leaves. There are many different species of guenon with different means of communication. Brow raising is a common form of communication in guenons but has been replaced by head-bobbing in the species with white nose patches. The facial colorations also assist in communication between troop members.