The Eastern Angolan colobus monkeys at the Gladys Porter Zoo are jumping with joy for their new outdoor exhibit. Colobus Crossing, located behind Small World, features a skywalk that allows the colobus to traverse over the heads of Zoo guests. It leads from their current indoor exhibit to an expansive outdoor habitat. The exhibit also features a replica of an Eastern Angolan hut, which is kept about 15 degrees cooler than the outdoor temperature. The exhibit will give the monkeys the option to remain indoors or explore outside. Colobus Crossing opened to the public on Friday, June 21st.
“Our expanding colobus troop, which is part of a Species Survival Plan (SSP) for the species, needed additional space to roam, jump and play so we devised a plan to connect their indoor space with an area that housed a garden and some ponds”, states Zoo Director, Dr. Patrick Burchfield. “Now, they have a beautiful area to be outside that meets the physical and behavioral needs of our troop. We are always trying to provide the best possible habitats that will enhance the natural behaviors and ensure the well-being of the animals in our care.”
The Gladys Porter Zoo’s colobus monkey troop currently consists of one dominant male, four adult females and four babies. To celebrate the opening of Colobus Crossing, staff asked the public to vote on names for the three colobus babies currently on exhibit. Name suggestions were selected by Zoo staff and were narrowed down to a few favorites. Thanks to all who voted to help us choose names for our three babies. All names are of African origin, since colobus monkeys are native to Central Africa. We’d like to officially introduce, in order from oldest to youngest: Jabari (courageous), Makalo (wonder, surprise), and Dakari (joy)! Eastern Angolan colobus monkeys are native to the mountainous regions of Central Africa, and the biggest threats to their population in the wild include loss of habitat and hunting. Their beautiful black and white fur make them a target for poachers who sell it to be made into rugs, coats and more.
Gladys Porter Zoo staff are anxious for visitors to see the new exhibit for themselves and view monkeys in a light where they can truly be appreciated. Make plans to visit the Zoo with the entire family this summer.