The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo had a bit of a baby boom last month, with the births of two colobus monkeys just days apart.
The pregnancies and births were both planned, but zoo officials expected the babies to be born a bit further apart.
Instead, the little monkeys arrived on Jan. 26 and Jan. 28.
The gender of only one of the baby monkeys is known. The oldest of the pair is a male.
The other one is being held so tightly by its mother that zookeepers haven’t been able to determine whether it is a boy or a girl.
But regardless, the little red-faced, white-headed fur babies were welcomed with joy and are exhibiting healthy postnatal behaviors, according to the zoo.
The colobus babies are born with all-white fur but develop a black-and-white pattern as they mature. They will also develop a large white tuft on the tip of their tails, which will provide them with balance as they move through the trees, zoo officials said.
With their births, the babies bring the zoo’s total number of colobus monkeys to six – including an adult male, Finnegan, and two adult females, Jibini and Wamblenica.
Finnegan and Jibini have a 1-year-old daughter, Kaasidy, as well as the male newborn monkey. The other new baby was born to Finnegan and Wamblenica.
The adult pairings were recommended by a committee that helps the nation’s zoos manage endangered species such as the colobus monkey, said Cheryl Piropato, the zoo’s education and communications director.
Based on what is best for the entire group of colobus monkeys, the baby monkeys will not likely remain at the zoo when they reach maturity, Piropato said.
Two adult male monkeys cannot live together, she said.
However, this summer, zoo visitors will be able to enjoy watching the young monkeys and their antics in their enclosure as part of the zoo’s African Journey exhibit.
The exhibit should be a lot of fun this summer, Piropato said.
As they grow, the young monkeys will reach between 18 and 30 pounds and will be trying out their acrobatic skills as they master the art of climbing, she said.
When they become adults, they are more sedentary than other monkey species. They typically will eat a lot of leaves in one spot and then wait until the leaves digest to move.
They do sit for a long time, she said. They’re unique that way.
Colobus monkeys are native to eastern and central African rain forests, and their survival is threatened by habitat destruction.