Indiana’s Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo enjoyed a January baby boom when two Black-and-White Colobus Monkeys were born within two days of one another.
“The fact that they were born within two days of each other was a big surprise,” said African Journey Area Manager Amber Eagleson. “We were aware that both of the adult females were pregnant, but based on their size we anticipated that one mother would deliver a bit later than the other. We never expected two infants at the same time!”
Photo Credit: Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
Zoo keepers bestowed corresponding names on the little Monkeys: the male is named Obi, which means “heart” in an African language, and the female is named Mchumba, which translates as “sweetheart.”
Keepers had to wait to name the infants until they could determine their genders. Mchumba clung so tightly to her mom that there was no opportunity to determine gender for several weeks after birth. The babies are half-siblings – they were born to different mothers and share the same father.
Colobus Monkeys begin life with all-white fur. At three or four months of age, they develop the dramatic black and white coat that characterizes the adult Monkeys. Colobus are unusual among Monkeys because they have a three-chambered stomach, which helps digest the fibrous leaves they consume in the wild.
Colobus Monkeys live in the rain forests of central and eastern Africa, and their survival in the wild is threatened by habitat destruction. The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan to ensure genetically healthy populations of endangered and threatened animals.