On October 1st, staff at Africa Alive!, in Kessingland, Suffolk, UK, were overjoyed to find a very welcome addition to the park’s growing family of King Colobus Monkeys.
At birth, Colobus Monkeys are covered in white fur that is gradually replaced with black hair matching the adults. The young are not very agile to begin with and are carried around for some time with the female primarily responsible for its care. For this reason, it is difficult to sex the baby at the moment and therefore, it is still to be named.
The parents, Ebony and Bert, arrived from Marwell Zoo in Hampshire and Paignton Zoo in Devon in 2007 and have produced several babies since, with Ebony proving to be an exceptional mother once again.
The King Colobus (Colobus polykomos), also known as the Western Black-and-white Colobus, is a species of Old World monkey, found in lowland and mountain rain forests in a region stretching from Senegal, through Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia to the Ivory Coast. The species is currently classified as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN. Their main threats are habitat destruction and hunting by man.
Black-and-white Colobus are herbivores. Their diet is mainly made up of leaves although they will occasionally eat fruit. As leaves do not contain many nutrients, Colobus have special multi-chambered stomachs, similar to those of cows, to extract as much nutrition from their food as possible.
There are very few zoos within Europe that keep this species and none outside of Europe, so this is yet another important addition to the park and will play a crucial role in assisting with the European breeding programme for this species.