Monkey of the Month: The Monkey with the White Beard

Written by Nicole Gams

Featured this month is the De Brazza’s monkey (Cercopithecus neglectus), named after Italian-French explorer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazzas. It is a handsome species with a sleek gray coat, red brow and white beard. They are a type of guenon, which is a genus of colorful old world monkeys endemic to central Africa. The De Brazza’s monkey tends to live near water in swamps, bamboo and dry mountain forests. They will forage on the ground, but are mostly arboreal, which means they like to spend time up in trees. They eat primarily fruit and seeds but also eat leaves, flowers, buds, lizards and insects. Unlike most other guenons, they don’t live around other guenon species and they are very secretive with no alarm call. Instead, they freeze when danger approaches so as not to attract attention. They live in polygynous (multiple male and female) groups anywhere from 5-30 individuals. Some groups only consist of a male and female and their offspring, suggesting occurrences of monogamy in this species. It’s believed that females stay in their natal groups and the males leave to join other groups; however, this is currently being investigated by field researchers.

pblog12

Here at the Houston Zoo we have a family group of De Brazza’s monkeys. Albert is the father whose job is to protect his family. Other than being almost twice as large (males average 7 kg while females average 4 kg), males and females can be hard to tell apart because they look exactly the same. However, males tend to have a more pronounced red brow and one can always look for the male parts, which are bright blue. If Albert is ever staring you down, he’s not admiring you or your outfit. He’s doing what’s called a threat display, but don’t be offended; I’m sure your zoo attire is just fine!  He’s simply doing his job and he does it very well. Albert can also be found strutting around with an arched tail and shaking tree branches which are both displays of dominance. Amelia is our adult female and Albert’s mate. They have had two offspring while living here: Ruby who just turned two at the end of December, and Flint who just turned one last November. The two youngsters can often be found wrestling and chasing each other around the exhibit. If at first not seen, they are likely heard rustling in the thick bamboo cover. Ruby, being the first born, had only her parents to play with. Albert was a doting father who Ruby may take after just a little too much, as she also will threat-stare and shake branches. Then there’s our newest and still adorable addition, Flint, who has not quite gotten his adult coloring yet. Young are born a bright golden hue and eventually the fur darkens with age. As younger siblings do, he likes to pull on his sister’s hair and tail, enticing her to a game of chase. Flint is very independent at this point; however, he still likes to be near his sister or mom, and still nurses occasionally. De Brazza’s monkeys are mature at 5-6 years of age.

pblog3Although currently listed as least concern on the IUCN red list, their existence is threatened by the clearing of habitat for agriculture and the timber industry. They are also hunted for the bushmeat trade. (Albert and Amelia came to Houston 11 years ago after being rescued from the bushmeat trade in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is not common practice for zoos to obtain animals from the wild except under dire circumstances such as this one.) They are one of the most widespread African primates that live in forests, but there are low densities throughout their range. Some De Brazza’s populations occur in multiple protected areas, safeguarding them – to some extent – from habitat loss. However, as more forests disappear this could fragment the populations, making it difficult for individuals to move between populations. Natural predators include the large African eagle, leopards, and chimpanzees.

Just by visiting the zoo you are helping to protect animals in the wild, as a portion of the proceeds from all ticket sales goes towards supporting our various conservation partners. One of those partners includes the Human-Wildlife Conflict Collaboration (HWCC) whose conflict transformation approach has led to reductions in poaching.

It is a privilege to have the animals we have at the zoo and for our guests to be able to experience them so intimately. Come and see this dynamic monkey species at the Wortham World of Primates.



Search Blog & Website
Subscribe to Houston Zoo News
Get the latest stories and updates from the Zoo in your inbox! Find out how: Houston Zoo News
Houston Zoo Facebook Page

This morning, we humanely euthanized our male, 20-year-old jaguar, Kan Balam. Due to the tremendous care provided to him by his keepers and our veterinary team, Kan Balam lived well beyond his expected lifespan. Jaguars expected lifespan in the wild is between 12-15 years.

The carnivore staff and veterinary team made the decision after his quality of life began to decline. Quality care and continuous advances in veterinary medicine extends animals’ lives longer than ever, with most felines in human care living well beyond previous generations. Because of this, all cats, including domestic house cats and jaguars, often spend a significant phase of their lives as older animals, and are at a higher risk for geriatric complications.

Read more about Kan B, and the love his keepers had for him on our blog: www.houstonzoo.org/blog/mourning-loss-geriatric-jaguar-kan-balam/
... See MoreSee Less

3

This morning, we humanely euthanized our male, 20-year-old jaguar, Kan Balam.  Due to the tremendous care provided to him by his keepers and our veterinary team, Kan Balam lived well beyond his expected lifespan. Jaguars expected lifespan in the wild is between 12-15 years. 
 
The carnivore staff and veterinary team made the decision after his quality of life began to decline. Quality care and continuous advances in veterinary medicine extends animals’ lives longer than ever, with most felines in human care living well beyond previous generations. Because of this, all cats, including domestic house cats and jaguars, often spend a significant phase of their lives as older animals, and are at a higher risk for geriatric complications.

Read more about Kan B, and the love his keepers had for him on our blog: https://www.houstonzoo.org/blog/mourning-loss-geriatric-jaguar-kan-balam/

 

Comment on Facebook

Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur; happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr purr purr #RIP #bigbangtheory

I know he lived a lot longer due to the excellent care he got at the Zoo.

Aww. When interning in the carnivore dept he was one of my faves. So smart! Ashley remember when Angie was teaching him to do the moonwalk after Michael Jackson passed?

So sorry for the loss of this beautiful creature. Kan Balam.

Is this the one that had the limp?

Thank you Houston Zoo for taking such good care of him and all the animals! I've been going to this zoo since I was little bitty. I always enjoy it.

RIP Kan Balam. You have given the visitors so much pleasure just watching you over these years. You were taken care of by top notch professional handlers, etc.

So sorry for your loss. He was a brilliant cat and he is at peace now and free.

So sorry they had to go through this, a decision that is emotional and difficult, and necessary.

Thank you to you and your staff for the years of quality care given this magnificant creature.

Sending my love to Kan Balam's keepers ❤️ This is the hardest part of our jobs 💔

We just saw Kan Balam on Monday😔.... he will be missed❤️

I am so sorry for your loss, each of these animals are precious ....

This was my daughters favorite critter at the Zoo. We always went to say hello to him before anyone else whenever we went. When she was 7 years old we sent a post out to out neighborhood on Halloween saying Paisley was asking for pocket change donations in lieu of candy for Halloween and all amounts would be donated to Kan thru the zoo. She raised over $40 in coins! I still have the letter from the zoo thanking her for her donation. He was a sweet boy and will be missed. 😔

Hugs to all of you keepers that took special care of Kan Balam.

Awe, I’m so sad to hear his quality of life was declining. But, I’m happy to know he had a long and wonderful life thanks to the wonderful teams at the Houston Zoo. He was a beautiful cat.

I'm so sorry for your loss. Thanks for taking such great care of him so he was able to live a long life. My thoughts are with his keepers and all who adored him. <3

Heartfelt condolences to the veterinary and keeper staff. Thank you for taking care of him

Katie Rose Buckley-Jones I won’t ever forget the time you asked him to bring something and he ripped off a piece of cardboard and tried to hand it to you ❤️ thank you for introducing me to him. Sending you guys many hugs

The Houston Zoo staff has lost several animals this year and I am sure each one is so hard to go through.

Thank you for providing him with a caring and enriched life. So sorry for your loss!

My thoughts of sympathy are with you all. I can't even imagine the sadness you feel today.

So sorry to read this. It is always a hard decision. RIP and run free sweet boy.

I’m so sorry for your loss. He was a beautiful cat.

So sad. Native Houstonian. He was one of my favorites.

+ View more comments

Social Media Guy to Sea Lion Keeper: Can you send me a pic of you working with the sea lions in this chilly weather?

Sea Lion Keeper: Sure... (sends picture next to sea lion statue)

SMG: I'm still using this.
... See MoreSee Less

1

Social Media Guy to Sea Lion Keeper: Can you send me a pic of you working with the sea lions in this chilly weather?

Sea Lion Keeper: Sure... (sends picture next to sea lion statue)

SMG: Im still using this.

 

Comment on Facebook

Are there some zoo animals that enjoy this weather?

SMG is another reason why Houston Zoo is the best Zoo!

Happy New Year “sea lion keeper “ 💖💖

More snow for TJ and Max ❤️ lucky them!

Are we positive that’s the statue rather than it really just being that cold? 😛

That’s my best friend Sophie for ya! 😂

Brrrrr

Omg the Zoo is so awesome 😂😂😂 Alana Berry

Omg be warm sweetoe

Haha!! Good one!

Sweetie 💞

Ashley Jucker 😂

Mike DePope

+ View more comments

We've heard of stalagmites but is stalagmice a thing? ... See MoreSee Less

1

Weve heard of stalagmites but is stalagmice a thing?

 

Comment on Facebook

Ok, it took me a minute to get this. I was literally zooming in to try to find the mouse. 🤦🏻‍♀️🙄😂

Cindy Christina Angela Ramirez see I told y’all! Lol

Andrew Kaufmann Look its Richard Jr! 😂

Wow ... good photo shot ... show the world that you need to protect your pipe ... if not, freezing water will expand the pipe and crack the pipe !!!

“Baby it’s cold outside!”

My gutters had glaciers in them!

I fell for the mouse thing too..

That's nothing! Talk to keepers from the northern states or Canada!

i was honestly looking for a mouse lol

Wow,that is so neat!

Annecia Wesley but where is the ice bacon? Lol

Johnnie R. Summerlin, cool, see the "stalagm ice"?

Two words. Pipe insulation.

That’s awesome!

Ana Rivers Smith cool!

Cortez

Pauline Ervin

Denise Daigre

Ashley Nguyen

Vicente Gonzalez

+ View more comments