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Little Monkey, Big World

A baby De Brazza's monkey named Kanani was born December 19th at the Denver Zoo. An adventurous and independent-minded little monkey, Kanani likes to wriggle away from mom and explore her surroundings on her own. Kanani's father was rescued from a black market in Africa as a baby and mother Kisoro was born at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo.

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Photo credits: Dave Parsons / Denver Zoo

Old World primates, De Brazza's monkeys are notable for their habit of freezing in place and remaining totally still when they sense danger. Clearly the animated little Kanani in the video below is not too worried.

Denver, CO (March 25, 2010) – Denver Zoo is thrilled to announce the birth of a De Brazza’s Monkey named Kanani! She was born to mother, Marinda and father, Kisoro, on December 19, 2009. Kanani is described as very active and playful despite Marinda’s attempts to be protective. Weather permitting, visitors can see her wiggle away from her mom in Primate Panorama.

Kisoro came to Denver Zoo in 2006 and is believed to have been born in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He was rescued off the black market as an orphan illegally up for sale to be used in the pet trade or as bush meat. He was not returned to his native habitat because he lacked the skills to survive in the wild. Marinda was born at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo and came to Denver from the North Carolina Zoo in 2009. The two were paired under recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) which ensures healthy populations and genetic diversity among zoo animals. Fortunately, the couple has proved to be an excellent match.

De Brazza’s Monkeys live in both swamps and forests of central Africa. They are difficult to find, though as they are excellent at hiding and can freeze in place for several hours if they sense they are in danger. In fact, because they hide so well it is unknown how many exist in the wild. Though they are not considered endangered, their greatest threats come from habitat loss.

They typically live in small social groups that generally consist of a dominant male and many females. Adult males weigh around 15 pounds. Females can weigh about half as much. They have grayish fur with black limbs and white backsides. Their faces are distinguishable by orange, crescent-shaped markings on their foreheads and white muzzles and beards. They get their names from Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, a French explorer in the late 1800’s.