Thu, 10/27/2011 - 3:40pm
Perhaps the only thing cuter than a Bolivian gray titi monkey is a titi monkey newborn, like the one that has been causing guests at the Helen Brach Primate House to gush since it arrived earlier this month.
The little monkey is hardly more than a puff of fur nestled into mom’s thick coat, making it tricky to spot. But each day it grows more independent, more visible to those who gather at the window to catch a glimpse. Our veterinarians will determine the gender during the first physical a few months down the road.
Zoo visitors are always pleasantly surprised to find newly born or newly hatched animals. And they’re often surprised to learn how much planning goes into every new arrival at the zoo. (Surprise rarely has anything to do with it.)
All zoo species are managed collectively within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Individuals are charted according to a Population Management Plan, which dictates when they should reproduce and with whom. (When they don’t have breeding recommendations, many zoo animals are contracepted, which mitigates unwanted pregnancies without having to alter social living arrangements.)
Genetic diversity is key to the long-term health of zoo animals, so individuals of breeding age are carefully paired. This scientific approach ensures that zoo populations—like the recently expanded titi monkey group here in Chicago—will continue to thrive, will continue to produce cute newborns, and will continue to awe and educate visitors with the magic of new life.
As always, I’ll keep you posted.