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NEW ORLEANS — Habari, the colobus monkey born at Audubon Zoo three years ago, has a new baby sister. Ua, which means “flower’’ in Swahili, greeted the world on March 17. The new arrival is the second offspring of Mandeesa (mother) and Kivuli (father). “The whole family is pitching in to help Mandeesa raise the newborn, which is a learning experience for big sister Habari as she builds skills for her own possible offspring in the future,” said Courtney Eparvier, Curator of Primates and Sea Lions at Audubon Zoo. “This collaborative rearing effort – called alloparenting or allomothering – is natural behavior for the female colobus.”
The birth is part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Colobus Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program to manage a genetically healthy population of black and white colobus monkeys in North American zoos.
Colobus monkeys, who roam the forests and grasslands of more than 15 Central African nations, are a threatened species that has fallen victim to habitat destruction. As human populations grow, forests are cut down to make room for agriculture, settlements and roads and the colobus monkey is losing its home as these developments expand. Organizations such as the American Wildlife Foundation are using technology, including tools like the Geographic Information System, to identify threats to conservation and pinpoint areas that have the potential to house wildlife. Once scientists identify suitable habitats, conversations can begin with communities and governments to set aside space. Visitors can see Ua in the Audubon Zoo’s World of Primates along with her father, mother and sister.
Colobus Monkey Facts:
- The species Colobus guereza can grow to about 30 inches long and can weigh up to 30 pounds.
- The monkeys are omnivorous and can live 20 years in human care.
- Their natural enemies include leopards, large eagles and humans.
- Unlike other monkeys, the colobus monkeys does not have a thumb.