COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has welcomed a new baby to an exhibit in the Monkey Pavilion.
Charlie, a 3-year-old howler monkey, gave birth on Tuesday afternoon. The zoo said the mother and baby are bonding quickly and appear to be in good health.
Zookeepers likely won’t know the gender of the baby for months, but it appeared strong and Charlie’s maternal instincts kicked in soon after the birth.
“We watch for certain indicators that the baby is strong,” said Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Senior Lead Keeper Michelle Salido, who was present during the birth. “We like to see them grasp on to their mother’s fur and for their tails to wrap around their mother’s arms or nearby branches. Nursing is the ultimate sign that the mother and baby are doing well. We’re seeing all of those things, so we’re excited it’s going so well.”
They will stay in their exhibit, so guests can view them any day of the week. Howie, the baby’s father, is in the same space but seems content keeping his distance for now, the zoo said.
Charlie and Howie were recommended to breed based on their genetics as part of the Black Howler Monkey Species Survival Plan, which is managed by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.
“It’s unusual for howler monkeys to give birth during the day, and it’s unusual that all three of her primary keepers are in one place at one time to witness it,” Salido said. “It was a really special family moment.”