Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens welcomed the birth of an Angolan Colobus monkey on May 27. The infant was the first for mother, Moshi, and sixth for father, Andy.
Although the species was introduced to the Florida facility in 2008, this is the first time an Angolan Colobus has been born at the Zoo.
The female infant is continuing to do great. Keepers have noticed her jumping and climbing, while Mom supervises nearby. Her hair also continues to change, from the all white coloring from birth, to black and white as she grows!
Angolan Colobus monkeys (Colobus angolensis), native to the dense rainforest of the Congo, have a black coat and face with a mantle of long white hair and a white tip on their tails. Colobus newborns, however, are born solid white and the coat gradually turns to adult colors during the first six months of life.
An interesting aspect of Angolan Colobus family dynamics is that females of the group co-mother infants. Moshi is getting help from her older sister, Mkia, who is an experienced mother and often seen holding and grooming the babe.
Moshi and the infant are both doing well and are often observed nursing and napping together. The family is easily visible from the African boardwalk where they are housed across form the lions. They share their habitat with four Ring-tailed Lemurs and one Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur.
In the wild, they feed predominantly on leaf material, supplemented by fruits and seeds. In the Zoo they are fed a scientifically formulated chow supplemented with fresh greens, fruits, forage mix and vegetables. Keepers also provide fresh cut vegetation as part of their daily diet.
The gestation period of the Angolan Colobus ranges from 147 to 178 days, and a single offspring is generally born, though twins are possible. Infants are born strikingly white, and then turn grey and black. By six months of age, they change to the adult coloration of black and white. They are born throughout the year, but a birth peak is seen in September and October.
Of the twelve currently recognized Colobus species, one is near threatened, three vulnerable, three endangered, and two critically endangered. Angolan Colobus are not currently considered endangered and may be fairly abundant in parts of their range. However, they are vulnerable to habitat destruction and have suffered extensively by hunting for bush meat and skins, especially in highly populated areas. Populations are declining fairly rapidly in some areas, such as the Kakamega forest in Kenya.
The Angolan Colobus is officially classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.