Record-Breaking Macaque Celebrates Birthday

« Back to Zoo & Aquarium News



This photo taken on Baldy's 35th birthday, June 16, 2009. Photo credit: Ryan Bickel, Blank Park Zoo

Record-Breaking Macaque Celebrates Birthday

Jun 16, 2009

Iowa’s Blank Park Zoo announced today that a Japanese macaque is the longevity record holder for the oldest female Japanese Macaque ever with a confirmed birth date. The macaque, affectionately named ‘Baldy’ for her mature appearance, turns 35 today. Animal keepers marked the occasion by giving special treats to many of the primates at the Zoo.

"If you put it in human terms, she is well over 100 years old," said Jeff Dier, Animal Curator at the Blank Park Zoo. "Every day she lives, she sets a new record for longevity and is part of the largest troop of Japanese Macaques."

Average Lifespan of a Japanese Macaque is 20 - 25 years 

The Blank Park Zoo is home to 21 Japanese macaques making it the largest troop at an accredited zoo in North America.

Baldy remains an active member of the troop. When the Zoo introduced three new males to the troop in March, she participated in the initiation process, chasing the new males around the exhibit.

Val Hautekeete, Animal Keeper, has made monkey brownies and cookies as a special enrichment treat for the macaques. The treats are made with pumpkin, oatmeal, raisins, honey, sunflower seeds and peanuts.

Baldy was born on June 16, 1974 at the Texas Snow Monkey Sanctuary and then moved to the Minnesota Zoo. She then came to the Blank Park Zoo in January of 1985.

About Japanese Macaques

Japanese macaques (also known as Snow Monkeys) are native to Japan and are tree dwelling (arboreal) and active during the day (diurnal.) They are social animals and live in troops comprising of both males and females. Hierarchy in the troop is based on the matriarchal amongst females and strength amongst males. Macaques are intelligent and may use tools to obtain food. In the cold winter months, they will bask in the sun and soak in natural hot springs. This species has cheek pouches to carry food in while it forages.

The average body mass for an adult male Japanese macaque is around 25 pounds and they measure from 19 to 24 inches. The fur color varies from brown to white. There is no hair on the face and it becomes red during adulthood. This species has a relatively short tail.

Japanese macaques are threatened due to deforestation and the loss of their habitat. As human development invade the territories of these macaques, human and macaque encounters increase, and about 5000 macaques are captured or shot each year (despite protection from the Japanese government) for they are considered as agricultural pests.

About Blank Park Zoo

The Blank Park Zoo, Iowa’s WILDEST Adventure, is open everyday 10am-4pm. Admission is $9.95 for adults, $4.95 for children under 12, and $7.95 for seniors and active military. The Zoo is located at 7401 SW 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50315. Visit the Zoo online at . The Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).  AZA is America’s leading accrediting organization that sets rigorous, professional standards for zoos and aquariums.  AZA is building North America's largest wildlife conservation movement by engaging and inspiring the 143 million annual visitors to its member institutions and their communities to care about and take action to help protect wildlife.

AZA Members: Submit your Zoo & Aquarium News