John Ball Zoo celebrates birth

John Ball Zoo announced today the birth of a white-faced saki monkey earlier this week.

The zoo said it was surprised on Monday morning to find Helen, its female white-faced saki monkey, had given birth.

“The new baby is clinging tightly to mom and is bright and alert,” zoo officials said. “We won’t know the baby’s sex until the first veterinary exam in a few months.”

The saki monkey family is housed in the South American area across from the flamingos.  “They have access to both their indoor and outdoor areas and may not be viewable at all times,” according to zoo staff. “The baby can be difficult to spot. It clings to mom’s side around her hip and blends well into her fur.”

Helen and Yaki, the zoo’s male white-faced saki monkey, have successfully raised three other babies at John Ball Zoo, but their ages, 25 and 24, made zoo staff doubt the likelihood of more offspring from the pair.

“The median life expectancy is between 10 and 20 years of age but some Saki monkeys have been known to live into their thirties,” the zoo said.

Saki monkeys are native to northern South America. They are predominantly tree dwelling but have been known to spend time foraging on the ground.  They can leap up to 30 feet from branch to branch.

White-faced saki monkeys are sexually dimorphic – meaning the males and females look different.  Males have white faces and a black snout, while females are all brown, with a black face and white stripes along their nose. Newborns are the color of females.

The name saki is derived from a number of similar words in several indigenous languages for “small monkey”.

Helen and Yaki’s previous offspring now live in other AZA-accredited zoos participating in Species Survival Plans, or SSPs. Helen and Yaki were recommended to breed by the white-faced Saki Monkey SSP, managed by the Assoc. of Zoos & Aquariums. John Ball Zoo participates in 34 SSPs created to save animals from extinction.  They also participate in 29 scientific Taxon Advisory Groups.

John Ball Zoo is home to over 1,500 animals.

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