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Katavi Joins Colobus Troop at Niabi

Niabi Zoo

The Niabi Zoo family has grown by one. Early last month, a new Colobus monkey was born, but it wasn't until a week later that zoo keepers discovered the sex of the baby, because his mother, Shirati, had been holding him that whole first week.

He's named Katavi.

Tammy Schmidt, assistant director of Niabi Zoo, says this species is born completely white, but Katavi is starting to look like his parents.

"His ears and his face are starting to bring in the black color that the adults have. They have these luscious black and white, long beautiful hair coats. And that baby right now has the cutest little curlicue white hair but he's starting to get that little pointy spot on his forehead where you see the black coloration of the fur coming in."

There are now a total of nine Colobus monkies at the zoo. Schmidt says he is getting along well with other troop members and is learning how to communicate with them.

"We can kind of pick up on each other's body language and gestures and tone. But can you imagine doing it all silently with how you flick your tail, or how you scrunch your nose ? And probably most of the time we're interpreting their gestures wrong but it means something to them and that's the most important thing."

This troop of monkies in Coal Valley is part of the North American Breeding population. The Niabi Zoo partners with 50 others in a Species Survival Plan.