Chicago (March 18, 2016) —While spring is around the corner, snow is still in the forecast for Lincoln Park Zoo as it announces the birth of a Japanese macaque (pronounced məˈkɑk), also known as a snow monkey. The baby was born March 18 at Regenstein Macaque Forest.
The infant is clinging tightly to 11-year-old mother, Izumi, and has yet to be sexed or named. Izumi was recommended to breed as a part of the Japanese Macaque Species Survival Plan (SSP), which cooperatively manages the accredited zoo snow monkey population. This is the first birth for Izumi at Lincoln Park Zoo.
“This is an exciting time for our macaques as the troop continues to create a second generation of snow monkeys at the zoo,” said Curator of Primates Maureen Leahy. “As always we are cautiously optimistic but the infant appears healthy and has begun nursing, one of the first essential milestones. Both Izumi and the infant are being closely monitored by animal care staff.”
The infant joins the troop of nine snow monkeys at Regenstein Macaque Forest, including 1-year-old male, Obu. The newest exhibit at the zoo offers an expansive habitat with microclimates, various levels and several trees and deadfall for climbing and hiding.
“Macaques, like all primates - including humans - experience different birth paths including successful births, but also stillbirths or miscarriages, both at zoos and in the wild,” said Leahy. “Because of this inherent risk in primates, this birth means a great deal for the zoo and its visitors as well as the macaque population as a whole.”
Both Izumi and the infant are currently on exhibit at Regenstein Macaque Forest, which is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Japanese macaques are found throughout most of Japan and are known for their tolerance for extreme climates, from sub-tropical lowlands to sub-alpine regions. While snow monkey populations do have alpha males, rank is determined by matrilines, meaning societal rank is inherited by offspring from their mothers.
For more information about Regenstein Macaque Forest or snow monkeys, visit snowmonkeys.org.
About Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo, a historic Chicago landmark founded in 1868, is dedicated to connecting people with nature by providing a free, family-oriented wildlife experience. A leader in conservation science both globally and locally, the zoo exemplifies the highest quality animal care and educational outreach. The not-for-profit zoo, managed by The Lincoln Park Zoological Society, is a member-supported organization and one of the nation’s only free, privately managed zoos. For more information, call 312 -742-2000 or visit lpzoo.org.