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What's Black and White But White All Over? Maryland Zoo's Baby Colobus Monkey


The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore announced the birth of black-and-white Colobus Monkey, born on exhibit on April 21. This is the first baby for parents, Keri, age 14, and Bisi, age 19. The infant, whose gender is not yet known, is covered in white fur, and is a little hard to see as it clings tightly to its mother's belly. The staff are monitoring things very closely, and have seen the baby nurse. When appropriate they will do the first veterinary check.

“We have been hoping that this pair would breed successfully, however they are secretive breeders and we were not certain she was pregnant,” stated Mike McClure, general curator. “We were very happy to see this new offspring arrive this morning. We want the mother and baby to be as comfortable as possible, so we are not attempting to bring them off exhibit to check on the infant at this time."

The species is considered in decline as they are threatened by loss of forest habitat across equatorial Africa, and are also hunted for their meat and fur. This birth is the result of a recommendation from the Colobus Species Survival Plan (SSP) coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSPs provide breeding recommendations to maximize genetic diversity and appropriate social groupings, with the goal of ensuring the long-term survival of the captive population and the health of individual animals. 

Photo Credit: Maryland Zoo

Read more about the colobus after the jump:

Colobus monkeys (Colobus guereza) are found in all types of forests in equatorial Africa. They are easily distinguishable by their black bodies and long white tails. They are highly social animals that spend most of their time sitting in the treetops eating and socializing. They take turns sleeping at night so that one member of the troop is always awake and watching for predators. 

The Maryland Zoo now has four colobus monkeys, two adult females, an adult male and the new infant. Zoo visitors can see the colobus monkey troop inside the Chimpanzee Forest. They share the exhibit with red tailed guenons, rock hyrax and African porcupines.