It was a “White Christmas” at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. A Black-and-white Colobus Monkey was born December 25, and the snowy-white infant is now on exhibit at the zoo’s Helen Brach Primate House.
The Colobus baby not only joins its 12-year-old mother Kutaka (koo-tah-kah) and 23-year-old father Keanjaha (key-an-ja-ha), it also shares home with 15-month-old female infant Nairobi and two other adult females.
The sex and measurements of the newborn are yet to be determined, as the baby is clinging tight to mom and a health check isn’t possible just yet.
The zoo’s Colobus infant is a part of the Black-and-White Colobus Species Survival Plan ® (SSP), which cooperatively manages the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited-zoo population.
The baby is the second successful offspring for this breeding pair. Lincoln Park Zoo’s Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology carefully monitored the progesterone levels in Kutaka’s urine samples to estimate a due date window and ensure that the mother and baby were healthy for the entire duration of the expected pregnancy.
“Kutaka is an extremely attentive mother,” said Curator of Primates Maureen Leahy. “We’re excited for the newest member of the multi-generational Colobus troop to interact with the entire family from juvenile to geriatric members. In fact, we’ve already observed the infant’s aunt and older sister briefly carrying the new infant, a species-typical behavior called alloparenting or ‘aunting behavior.’”
One of five species of Colobus Monkeys, the Black-and-white Colobus is an arboreal species native to equatorial Africa.
Lincoln Park Zoo Animal Keeper, Jade Price, recently traveled to Diani Beach, Kenya with Colobus Conservation Limited to participate in conservation efforts focused on the nationally threatened Angolan Colobus Monkey.
At birth, Colobus Monkeys have white hair and pink skin in stark contrast to the black-and-white adults. Around 3-weeks-old, the face and ears start to darken until the infant is almost completely black-and-white at around 3 to 4 months old.
The Colobus infant and parents, Kutaka and Keanjaha, can all be seen on exhibit daily from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Helen Brach Primate House.
For more information on Lincoln Park Zoo or new arrivals, visit www.lpzoo.org .