COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Cheyenne Mountain Zoo) - Cheyenne Mountain Zoo received an early Valentine’s gift as a second black howler monkey in just under a year was born yesterday.
Four-year-old howler monkey Charlie gave birth to her second baby on Thursday, Feb. 13 at 7:14 a.m. An early-morning staff member was doing a routine check on Charlie and saw the beginning of the birthing process. Keepers say mom and baby are bonding quickly, and early indicators, like the baby’s curled tail, are showing that the baby is healthy and strong. The gender likely won’t be confirmed for several months.
Charlie gave birth to her first baby, Louie, in March 2019. Charlie showed strong maternal instincts immediately after Louie’s birth, and keepers say she has been exhibiting those same behaviors with this new baby, such as grooming and maintaining chest-to-chest contact. Like most primates, the baby will spend its first several weeks of life clinging to mom, and then the young monkey will begin to explore its surroundings on its own.
Even though big brother Louie seems curious about the new addition, touching the baby’s tail while it was wrapped around Charlie’s back, he has been giving mom and baby the space they need to bond.
After Louie’s birth, first-time father Howie seemed unsure of the baby and kept to himself for the first few days.
“Howie’s reacting very differently to this baby,” said Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Monkey Pavilion keeper Debbie Fenton. “He is incredibly calm and sure of himself this second time around. The entire family was able to stay together all day yesterday and remained in the same space last night, too.”
The happy family of four will continue to stay together in Monkey Pavilion, and Charlie has access to a back den area, as well. Since Charlie prefers to be in the main black howler exhibit, guests may have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the newborn and its family members.
Charlie and Howie were recommended to breed based on their genetics as part of the Black Howler Monkey Species Survival Plan, managed by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. This baby’s birth is contributing to a program that is working to help guarantee 100 years of genetic diversity for the species in accredited organizations.
Keepers will keep a close eye on Charlie and her baby, and will be happy to share their joy with Zoo members and guests who come to visit.
“We are so excited that Louie will have a sibling to grow up and play with,” said Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Monkey Pavilion keeper Erika Furnes. “He enjoys playfully wrestling with his parents, and we can’t wait to see the two young howler monkeys play together once his younger sibling is old enough.”