JUNE 28, 2011 -- Visitors are going gaga for two new babies at the Saint Louis Zoo -- a colobus monkey and an Asian elephant. The public is invited to vote on the name of the elephant.
Meet Mosi the Colobus Monkey
A male black and white colobus monkey was born at the Saint Louis Zoo's Primate House on May 20. Mosi is the first colobus to be born at the Zoo in 11 years.
Mosi's 23-year-old mother, Roberta, came to the Saint Louis Zoo after attempts to introduce her to the colobus group at Binder Park Zoo in Michigan were unsuccessful. After the move to St. Louis, Roberta was easily integrated with the Zoo's 11-year-old female, Cecelia, and Mosi's father, 5-year-old Kima.
"It was believed that Roberta, who is an experienced mother, was likely post-reproductive when she arrived here," said Ingrid Porton, curator of primates at Saint Louis Zoo. "Happily, she proved this to be incorrect."
Roberta has been a very attentive mother, holding the baby against her abdomen when resting, and supporting him with one arm as she travels.
According to Zoo staff, Mosi has proven to be a very active infant. Within just a few days he could be seen hopping from mom to the ground and back. "We anticipate that as Mosi grows he will prove to be a wonderful play companion for his still very playful dad," said Porton.
Colobus monkeys are found throughout the forests of central Africa. The birth is part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Colobus Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program to manage a genetically healthy population of black and white colobus monkeys in North American zoos.
Photo of Mosi and Roberta by Ethan Riepl/Saint Louis Zoo.
Rani Gives Birth to a Girl
Rani, the zoo's 15-year-old Asian elephant gave birth to a girl on Friday, June 24. Today, the newborn weighs 297 pounds and stands 39 inches tall.
"Mother and baby are bonding very well," said Curator of Mammals Martha Fischer. "The baby appears healthy and is already walking around."
Mother and baby are not yet on public display, and a debut date has not been set.
"Rani was protective of her baby from the start," Fischer said. "She did a great job of carrying and giving birth to a beautiful baby."
This is Rani's second baby and the third for Raja, the baby's father. Raja was the first elephant ever born at the Saint Louis Zoo. Now, at age 18, he has his own family, with daughter Maliha, born on Aug. 2, 2006, and Rani's first daughter, Jade, born Feb. 25, 2007.
"The River's Edge staff has been busy preparing for this particular baby for the past two years" Fischer said. "It's so rewarding to have made it to this day."
Asian elephants are critically endangered, and the Saint Louis Zoo has been actively involved with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan for Asian elephants.
"Because Asian elephants are so endangered in the wild, the birth of this elephant is important to the conservation work we do with other North American zoos," says Dr. Jeffrey P. Bonner, president and CEO of the zoo.
"Together AZA-accredited zoos cooperatively manage the breeding of Asian elephants to maintain healthy populations that are as genetically diverse and as demographically stable as possible."
Photo of the new baby elephant by Katie Pilgram/Saint Louis Zoo.
Name That Baby
Rani's new baby needs a name, and the zoo would like your help. Cast your vote in the Saint Louis Zoo's Name the Baby poll by visiting the zoo's website.
Four names are in the running.
- June (the keepers' favorite)
- Kenzi (means my treasure)
- Zoe (means life)
- Mya (means emerald)
The winning name will be announced on July 5.