POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Aug 27, 2013
Visitors to Panaewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens near Hilo are craning their necks for a glimpse at a new arrival.
Moe and Mindy, a pair of threatened colobus monkeys, are the parents of a baby born at the zoo Aug. 10.
People have to look closely to see the newborn, West Hawaii Today reported. Colobus monkeys like to stay on the highest perch available in their fenced habitat, and officials at the zoo south of Hilo have put up tape to give them a little more space and privacy.
The monkey parents have not brought the baby close enough for officials to tell whether it’s male or female. The monkeys hardly ever move to the ground. Instead, they swing from tree to tree, using mantle hairs and their tails as a parachute.
“I think the staff and everyone at the zoo is very excited about this new addition,” said zoo director Pam Mizuno.
The baby is the first for Moe and Mindy and the first successful birth of the species at the zoo in more than 20 years.
Colobus monkeys have black-and-white coats, but the baby is pure white. It will begin changing color after about five weeks.
Native to Africa, colobus monkeys are now threatened, hunted for fur and meat.
The zoo acquired 10-year-old Moe in 2009, and took three years to find him a mate. Donations helped the zoo acquire 8-year-old Mindy last year from Florida.
They were first put into adjacent cages, and after a few days, Mindy joined Moe.
“They seemed to hit it off quite well,” Mizuno said. “It’s lucky for us, they make a really nice pair.”
Mindy spends much of the time cradling the baby against her chest but sometimes sets it down to nuzzle and wash it with her tongue.