There are 91 De Brazza’s Monkeys at 31 zoos in the North American Species Survival Plan (SSP) managed population. Of all those, we believe we have one of the cutest individuals, in the form of the baby that was born on the last day of 2013. It has been fascinating to watch this kid’s development and coloration changes. Rupert …or Ruby… has gone from an astonishing brilliant golden color to the nearly adult pelage of the parents in the past six months. On those two names: we haven’t been positively able to see if the baby is male or female so we are leaving the question open until we are sure. (Whenever we get close enough to get a good look, the baby jumps into mom’s arms and she runs off, making a closer inspection impossible.) So, Rupert or Ruby it is until we get a look or we do the baby’s first physical exam, which usually occurs sometime around a baby turning one year old.
At six weeks of age a lovely white beard and mustache appeared on the infant’s face, but the golden color of the fur remained. We began to see the baby getting off mom and tottering around for small jaunts at this stage. At seven weeks of age the infant started eating kale and peas, which were picked up very delicately with tiny fingers and chewed contemplatively. At eight weeks we documented the face getting somewhat darker, and at nine weeks he or she really starting to locomote around with much more confidence. At four months old baby was clinging to mama much less and climbing around and had graduated to eating lots more solid food. By five months, the facial coloration of an adult De Brazza’s monkey but the body fur was now a rust color.
Now, at the age of six months, the baby has developed into a mini-me of his mother and father and is very independent and starting to behave like a typical baby monkey, with all of the hijinks that go along with that: climbing, hanging upside down, swinging with great abandon, and generally just having fun.
This trio can be seen at the Wortham World of Primates in a newly renovated exhibit: go just past the patas monkeys and mandrills up on the elevated walkway and you will find them. They have a thickly planted exhibit so they may be a challenge to find at first, but have patience and wait – you will be rewarded with the sight of a beautiful new baby and a proud set of parents!