After nine years with no babies in the Weeper Capuchin enclosure at Israel's Zoological Center Tel Aviv, Kopatch, a 15 year old female gave birth to a tiny baby. Kopatch's rank in the group is usually very low, but since she gave birth it seems to have risen. The capuchin group arrived at the Safari on May 25th 1987, after being smuggled into Germany and confiscated by the government there. They were kept in the Hannover Zoo until they could find a new home.
Capuchins are the smartest monkeys among the "New World monkeys". They are famous for their tool use and nut cracking ability, using two stones- one as an anvil and the other to crack the nut with.
Zoological Center Tel Aviv's capuchins don't seem to like people at all, not even their keepers. Interestingly, only one female, Kamila, remains from the original group. The monkeys have passed this fear to the new members in the group. Now with the new baby, there might be a chance to tighten the relationship between the capuchins and the keepers.
For the past few months the Weeper Capuchins have been trained to approach the keepers and be hand fed. This training is aimed to enable medical treatment without stressing the animals. Zoological Center Tel Aviv is hoping that the mother and new infant will cooperate with the trainers and set an example for the rest of the group.
Kopatch's maternal instincts are strong and after only 2 days she started carrying the baby on her shoulders at right angles to her body, in the manner of Capuchins. The baby lifts its tiny head and looks healthy and alert.
This is an important new addition to the group, especially as there are only 39 weeper capuchins kept in zoos worldwide.