Howler monkey born by emergency C-section makes debut at Audubon Zoo

NEW ORLEANS – A howler monkey born by emergency Caesarian section earlier this year has joined her family at the Audubon Zoo.

The emergency surgery occurred on January 3 after the veterinary staff at the zoo noticed problems with the monkey’s mother, 22-year-old Salsa, who was also born at the Audubon Zoo.

“In this case, we were able to diagnose a problem with Salsa’s cervix, which had a prominent scar, likely from a previous birth,’’ Audubon Nature Institute Senior Veterinarian Dr. Robert MacLean said. “We elected to do an emergency Cesarean, which went well.’’

The baby black howler monkey, Calliope, spent the next two months with Salsa and Calliope’s 12-year-old sister Nakum in the care of Audubon staff.

Now Salsa and her two daughters have rejoined Calliope and Nakum’s father, a 17-year-old monkey named Mijo, in the Zoo’s World of Primates Exhibit.

Salsa and Mijo have produced four offspring so far, making them a valuable part of the zoo’s Howler Monkey Species Survival Plan.

“Salsa is an extremely valuable animal because her genetics are so diverse,’’ curator of primates at Audubon Zoo Courtney Eparvier said. “And it’s important that those genetics get passed on to future Howler Monkeys to maintain a healthy population.”