LINCOLN PARK — It was a black-and-white Christmas at Lincoln Park Zoo with the birth of a new colobus monkey.
The zoo announced Thursday that Kutaka, a 12-year-old black-and-white colobus monkey, had given birth on Christmas. The sex, weight and other measurements of the infant have yet to be determined, as they naturally clutch to their mothers in the first weeks of life, but mother and child are on display from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily in the Primate House.
"Kutaka is an extremely attentive mother," said Curator of Primates Maureen Leahy. "We're excited for the newest member of the multi-generational colobus troop to interact with the entire family from juvenile to geriatric members. In fact, we’ve already observed the infant’s aunt and older sister briefly carrying the new infant, a species-typical behavior called alloparenting or 'aunting behavior.'"
The baby joins 23-year-old father Keanjaha and 15-month-old sister Nairobi in the family, along with two adult aunts.
Black-and-white colobus monkeys are born with white hair and pink skin. At three weeks, the face and ears begin to darken until they're fully black-and-white at three or four months.
The black-and-whites are one of five species of colobus monkeys and are native to equatorial Africa.
The zoo is clearly having as much success with its Black-and-White Colobus Species Survival Plan as it has with its similar breeding program for red pandas. It's hoping to add a female polar bear to the freshly arrived Siku this winter to initiate another species survival plan as well.