ST. LOUIS (KTRS) A male black and white colobus monkey, also known as Guereza colobus (Guh-REZ-uh KAH-luh-bus), was born at the Saint Louis Zoo on Dec. 29, 2017. In a release from the zoo, the baby, who will be named by zookeepers at a later date, and his family can be seen at the Primate House during regular Zoo hours.
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. An infant’s hair coat will change gradually until they reach adult coloration at about 6 months.
Colobus live in multi-female families and take turns caring for newborns, which is called allomothering. Cecelia, 18, is the dominant female and an experienced mother who is taking great care of the newborn, as well as her 1-year-old daughter, Willow.
The baby will stay with mom for nursing and sleeping, but at other times throughout the day, it’s common to see Binti take the baby while mom eats or interacts with other members of the family, according to zookeepers. This is a skill necessary for female youngsters to learn so they, too, can become successful mothers in the future.
“The new baby is doing really well and becoming very interested in everything happening around him,” says Brooke Johnson, Saint Louis Zoo primate keeper and Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) institutional representative for the black and white colobus monkey.