Black and white colobus monkey born at Saint Louis Zoo

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Black and white colobus monkey born at Saint Louis Zoo. Photo credit Ethan Riepl/Saint Louis Zoo

Black and white colobus monkey born at Saint Louis Zoo

Jun 24, 2011

A male black and white colobus monkey was born at the Saint Louis Zoo’s Primate House on May 20. “Mosi” [pronounced MOH-zee] is the first colobus to be born at the Zoo in 11 years.

Colobus infants are born with all white hair and a pink face. In contrast, adults are primarily black, with white hair encircling their face and half of their tail. They have a distinctive mantle of long white hair extending from their shoulders around the edge of their back. Infants will change color gradually until they reach adult coloration at about six months.

The 23-year-old mother “Roberta” came to the Saint Louis Zoo after attempts to introduce her to the colobus group at Binder Park Zoo in Michigan were unsuccessful. After the move to St. Louis, Roberta was easily integrated with the Zoo’s 11-year-old female “Cecelia,” and Mosi’s father, five-year-old “Kima.”

“It was believed that Roberta, who is an experienced mother, was likely post-reproductive when she arrived here,” says Ingrid Porton, curator of primates at Saint Louis Zoo. “Happily she proved this to be incorrect.”

Colobus monkeys are found throughout the forests of central Africa. The birth is part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Colobus Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program to manage a genetically healthy population of black and white colobus monkeys in North American zoos.

Roberta has been a very attentive mother, holding the baby against her abdomen when resting, and supporting him with one arm as she travels.

According to Zoo staff, Mosi has proven to be a very active infant. Within just a few days he could be seen hopping from mom to the ground and back. “We anticipate that as Mosi grows he will prove to be a wonderful play companion for his still very playful dad,” says Porton.


June 21, 2011 Saint Louis Zoo 314/781-0900
Janet Powell, ext. 4633
Christy Childs, ext. 4639
Joanna Bender, ext. 4703



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