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Florida Guide > Animal Kingdom

NEW BABY COLOBUS MONKEY, ANIMAL KINGDOM FEBRUARY 2009

Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida is one of my favourite parks, not just because it is so beautifully landscaped, but also because it has such a wide range of animals to view. On February 17th this year a baby colobus monkey was born, and its birth was extra special because it was the first colobus monkey to be born at Animal Kingdom.

Colobus Monkeys are fascinating creatures, with their black body and white shoulders, backs and beards. They are about 18-27 inches tall and weigh between 12-32 lbs. They have long tails which help them to navigate through the forest, but unlike most other primates, they do not have a thumb.

Colobus monkeys spend much of their life in the upper levels of the rainforest canopy, and their light body weight and elongated limbs helps them to leap from branch to branch. Their hands, despite having no thumb, are ideal for grasping branches. The name ‘colobus’ means ‘mutilated one’ and this is a reference to their lack of thumb. When they jump from tree to tree, their long shoulder hair fans out behind them, acting rather like a parachute. This hair also breaks up the animal’s silhouette, which helps to camouflage it. Sadly, it is this beautiful fur that makes them a prime target for being hunted, as local tribes like to use the fur for ceremonial occasions. At one time their fur was also used by the fur trade to make coat trimmings. Nowadays the main threat to their survival is deforestation of their native rainforest habitat. In the wild they mainly eat leaves, flowers, buds and fruit.

The new baby was born to Kabibi, a first time mother, after a six month gestation period, and although it is not yet known what sex it is, the baby appears to be healthy and full of life. The period around the birth of a new baby is always an anxious time, as its survival is reliant on the mother bonding with it, and caring for it.

Happily, Kabibi seems to be doing well, and has adapted to motherhood quickly. New baby colobus monkeys are actually covered in white fur which is gradually replaced by black hair as they become adults. Kabibi was brought to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 2008 as part of the AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) Species Survival Plan. There are approximately 65 of these monkeys in AZA accredited facilities around the United States, and Disney helps to keep detailed records of the animals at Animal Kingdom. Animal Kingdom is dedicated to animal conservation.

Both mum and baby can be seen along with the other five colobus monkeys, at the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. You will have to look carefully, as Kabibi is very protective of her new youngster and is keeping a close watch on it. However, if you are lucky you may see this new and enchanting baby on your next visit.

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Page added on: 17 April 2009
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