Colobus monkey born at Saint Louis Zoo

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Colobus Monkey 2

Colobus monkey infant photo by Robin Winkelman/Saint Louis Zoo

Colobus monkey born June 30 at Saint Louis Zoo

Jul 12, 2012

A black and white colobus [pronounced CAH-luh-bus] monkey was born at the Saint Louis Zoo’s Primate House on June 30.

Naming will await determination of the monkey’s gender. The infant is the sibling of “Mosi” [pronounced MOH-zee], now 13 months old and 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 24-year-old mother “Roberta” came to the Saint Louis Zoo in 2010 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 13-year-old female “Cecelia,” and both the new baby’s and Mosi’s father, six-year-old “Kima.” The family of five is now on exhibit. Visitors can see the infant poking its head out to look at its new world.

"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 quite 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 is an attentive and protective mother. Mosi is very curious about the new infant and mom allows him to sniff the infant, but when he tries to touch, she has pushed him away,” says Porton. “We are looking forward to the time when his sibling will be old enough to be Mosi’s play partner.”



Saint Louis Zoo 314/781-0900

Susan Gallagher, 314/646-4633

Christy Childs, 314/646-4639

Joanna Bender, 314/646-4703

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