Archive for Monkeys

Only 10 More Days!

countdown zoo attraction

We selected April 26 as our opening day way back in September of 2013, and now it’s almost here!  We are nearly caught up from the challenges that the winter weather threw at us, and our staff is in high gear prepping for opening day.  Here’s a list of what we’re doing this week:

  • Exhibits are getting minor repairs and new paint jobs on warm days.
  • Rides are being cleaned and “un-winterized” to prepare for the required state inspection they undergo every year.  This winter provided a few hurdles: the Australian Adventure River Ride finally thawed at the end of March!  This week, crews are reinstalling the Sky Safari ride chairs.  (See the photo gallery below.)
  • Landscaping crews are mulching the zoo’s many flower beds.
  • New employees are being trained to take on their new tasks.
  • Zoo favorites like the Lion Drinking Fountain get a makeover to look their best in your family photos!
  • Last but not least, the animals who have been living in warm indoor quarters will move into their outdoor enclosures next week.
capuchin monkey zoo attraction

The capuchin monkeys will move onto Monkey Island next week.

All of the staff and volunteers at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo are counting down the days to April 26.  We hope you’ll join us in making 2014 the best zoo season ever!

Click on the images below to enlarge:

Posted in: Monkeys, Zoo News

The Colobus Babies Have Names!

colobus baby zoo attraction

This just in – Zoo keepers have named the two colobus monkey babies at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo! 

~Jibini’s baby is male and named Obi (pronouced “oh-bee”).  His name means “heart.”

~Wamblenica’s baby is female and named Mchumba  (pronouced “meh-choom-ba”).  Her name means “sweetheart.”

Obi and Mchumba were born in late January.  Click here to read the zoo’s earlier blog post announcing the colobus babies’ births.

Why did keepers wait so long to name the babies?  ”We wanted to wait until we found out both of their sexes so we could give them corresponding names,” says African Journey Area Manager Amber Eagleson.  Determining Mchumba’s sex took longer because the infant monkey clung very tightly to her mother, and keepers waited some time before approaching mom and baby.  This clinging behavior is typical in colobus infants.

Zoo Keeper Jessica Walker reports that the babies are developing normally and have undergone behavioral as well as physical changes.  “Since their arrival, the babies have developed rapidly!  Initially they clung tight to their respective mothers, and either nursed or slept for the majority of the day.  They vocalized only slightly.  Now, although they still display the clinging and nursing behaviors of infancy, both babies have been moving more and have found their voices.”

Walker also notes changes in Obi and Mchumba’s physical appearance.  “The first couple of days after birth the little ones were completely white.  Their coloration is slowly changing to resemble the black-and-white pattern of an adult colobus monkey.   The change will be more noticeable in the coming weeks.” 

The photos below were taken on February 27, 2014, around the time of the babies’ one-month birthday.  Click to enlarge:

Posted in: Baby Animals, Monkeys, Zoo News

Oh, Baby!

colobus baby zoo attraction

The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo enjoyed a baby boom during the last week of January when two black-and-white colobus monkeys were born within two days of one another. 

“The fact that they were born within two days of each other was a big surprise,” stated African Journey Area Manager Amber Eagleson.  “We were aware that both of the adult females were pregnant, but based on their size we anticipated that one mother would deliver a bit later than the other.  We never expected two infants at the same time!”

The babies, which have not yet been named, were born on January 26 and January 28, 2014.  They were born without complication and have displayed healthy postnatal behavior.  Dr. Kami Fox, the zoo’s veterinary intern, states that “Both babies and moms are doing very well.  The newborns are clinging tightly to their respective mothers, just like they should.  The keepers have witnessed them nursing frequently as well.” 

The colobus monkeys will live indoors until the weather permits outdoor access.  During the zoo season, guests can observe the troop on exhibit in the African Journey.  The following six monkeys make up the zoo’s colobus troop:

  • adult male Finnigan
  • adult female Wamblenica
  • adult female Jibini
  • Wamblenica and Finnigan’s newborn (gender unknown)
  • Jibini and Finnigan’s one-year-old daughter Kaasidy
  • Jibini and Finnigan’s male newborn

 

Eagleson explains why the sex of the second colobus baby remains unknown, “We have yet to determine the gender of Wamblenica’s baby because mom is extremely overprotective.  Her baby clings tightly to her at all times and we’ve allowed Wamblenica some distance to avoid unintended stress on mother and baby.”

 

Colobus monkeys live in the rain forests of central and eastern Africa.  They grow into adept climbers despite their unique hand structure.  Although it is common practice to reference the “opposable thumbs” of primates, colobus monkeys lack this feature and instead use their four full-sized fingers to form a hook that helps them grasp branches. In addition to climbing, colobus monkeys can leap from tree to tree by launching themselves from a high limb on one tree to a lower limb on another.  Guests of the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo can observe this behavior when the zoo opens on April 26.

 

 

 

Click on the images below to enlarge:

 

Posted in: Baby Animals, Monkeys, Zoo News

Pumpkin Playtime

capuchin monkey and pumpkin

Animals and pumpkins may seem like an unlikely pairing, but they are a big hit at the zoo.  With so many pumpkins here for the Wild Zoo Halloween, zoo keepers are grabbing gourds to use as enrichment with the animals.

Enrichment is the practice of introducing novel foods and objects to provide mental and physical stimulation for the animals.  

Pumpkins can be used as toys, food, or a container for treats.  The dingoes’ pumpkins were covered in papier-mâché to make them extra-challenging to open.  The red pandas got pumpkins stuffed with bamboo leaves and grapes, and the capuchin monkeys received jack-o-lanterns with treats inside.  The orangutans simply cracked open the pumpkins and ate the seeds!

Enjoy these photos of zoo critters with their pumpkins – click on the photos to enlarge.

 

Posted in: Monkeys, Orangutans, Red Panda, Zoo News

Meet Kaasidy, Our Little Daredevil

baby colobus monkey

How many ways can a 9-month-old monkey worry her keepers?  Kaasidy the baby colobus monkey is trying to find out.

“She’s quite the daredevil ,” said African Journey Area Manger Amber Eagleson of Kaasidy.  Eagelson describes Kaasidy’s first day in the new colobus monkey exhibit, when the little monkey climbed to the top of the exhibit, let go, and dropped ten feet to a low branch.  “My heart stopped for just a second,” says Eagleson.  But Kaasidy had no worries – she climbed to the top and did it all over again.

One of Kaasidy’s favorite antics is to hang from the long bushy tails of her mother, Jibini, and Wamblenica, another female.  “They don’t seem to mind at all,” said Eagleson.  But dad’s tail is off-limits.  “We never see her hanging from Finnigan’s tail – he’s not as tolerant as the females.”

Kaasidy was born on September 25, so she was on exhibit for only a few days before the zoo closed for the season.  The colobus family moved back outdoors after their exhibit in the African Journey was completely rebuilt and enlarged this spring.  Colobus monkeys are native to the forests of central and eastern Africa. 

Eagleson encourages you to spend time at the colobus exhibit and watch Kaasidy at play.  “She only rests for a few minutes,” Eagleson said.  “Then she’s back at it again.”

Read more about colobus monkeys.

Click the photos below to enlarge.

Posted in: African Animals, Baby Animals, Monkeys

Swamp Monkey Family is Growing!

swamp baby150x150

Swamp monkeys Brie and Bangi are parents again!  A new addition to the family was born on Thursday, November 1. 

The baby, whose gender is not yet known, is the 5th baby for the prolific pair.  The infant has plenty of older siblings to keep it company:  older brother Anderson, age 3, and sisters Izzy, 2, and Luella, 1 are extremely curious about the new arrival.  An older sister, named Calvin, is now living at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo.

As with any addition to a family, the dynamics of the swamp monkey group have shifted.  “At first, Luella seemed upset that she couldn’t get all of her mom’s attention,” said zoo keeper Erin Fairchild, “but she seems to have adjusted to the new baby.”

For now, the baby clings to Brie’s belly to nurse and nap.  In a few weeks, the youngster should begin to interact with its brothers and sisters.  By the time the zoo opens on April 20, the baby will be hopping, jumping, and swinging in the enclosure with its siblings!

Learn more about swamp monkeys here.

Click on the photos below to enlarge.

 

 

 

Posted in: Baby Animals, Monkeys

Baby Colobus Monkey Born at the Zoo

colobus baby 150x150px

The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is celebrating the birth of a baby black and white colobus monkey, the first to be born in 12 years at the zoo.  The female baby was born on September 25.

The infant, named Kaasidy, and her mother, Jibini, went outdoors into their exhibit for the first time late this morning in the African Journey.  The baby’s father is named Finnigan.

Colobus babies are covered in white fur.  At 3-4 months of age, they develop the deep black coat, shaggy white mantle, and tufted white tail typical of adult colobus monkeys. 

Jibini is a first-time mother, so zoo keepers have been watching carefully to make certain she is caring for her baby. 

For now, Kaasidy can be seen clinging to her mother’s belly, though in a few weeks she’ll begin to climb about.  However, to protect the baby, the monkeys will only be allowed access to their outdoor exhibit when the outdoor temperature is above 60 degrees.

Colobus monkeys are native to Africa’s equatorial forests, where they spend nearly all of their time in trees feeding on fruits, leaves, and other vegetation.  Some populations are threatened due to habitat loss and hunting for their dramatic black-and-white coat.  To maintain a genetically healthy zoo population of colobus monkeys, they are cooperatively managed by the Species Survival Plan (SSP) program of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. 

The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo closes for the season on Sunday, October 14.  Portions of the zoo will be open during the Wild Zoo Halloween, beginning October 19, but the African Journey will not be open during the Wild Zoo Halloween.

 Read more about colobus monkeys here.

 

Posted in: Baby Animals, Monkeys