Jan. 28, 2016

Saint Louis Zoo 314/781-0900
Susan Gallagher 314/646-4633;
Christy Childs, 314/646-4639;
Joanna Hoeltge, 314/646-4703;

Baby Colobus Monkey Born at the Saint Louis Zoo's Primate House

A male black and white colobus monkey, also known as Guereza colobus (Guh-REZ-uh KOL-uh-bus), named Ziggy was born at the Saint Louis Zoo's Primate House on Jan. 10, 2016. Ziggy's name is a nod to rock star David Bowie who passed away on the day the infant was born.

Colobus infants are born with all white hair and a pink face. In contrast, adults are primarily black, with white hair encircling their faces and half of their tails. Adults have a distinctive mantle of long white hair extending from their shoulders around the edge of their backs. Infants will change gradually until they reach adult coloration at about 6 months.

Cecelia, age 16, is the dominant female in the group and an experienced mother who is taking great care of her newborn and 1-year-old Simon. Her 3-year-old daughter Kivuli (Kih-VOO-lee) is an eager "babysitter." Also in the family is 28-year-old matriarch Roberta, mother to 3-1/2-year-old daughter Pili (PEE-lee) and 2-year-old daughter Binti (BIN-tee). Nine-year-old father Kima (KEE-muh) watches proudly over the family.

"Everyone in the colobus monkey family has a role in caring for newborns," says Joe Knobbe, Zoological Manager of Primates at the Saint Louis Zoo. "Cecelia allows the young females some time with the infant, holding or even carrying him. They are learning important skills that will help them become great mothers, too, someday."

The family can be seen at the Primate House. Visitors can see the infant poking his head out to look at his new world.

The colobus monkey is found throughout the forests of east and 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.