There’s big news about a little monkey at the Palm Beach Zoo. A family of Goeldi’s monkeys welcomed a new addition exactly one month ago. A baby monkey was born to mother, 11-year-old Patricia, and father, 6-year-old Pipoca (“popcorn” in Portuguese), on July 19, 2013.
This is the third surviving baby for Patricia. She lost three previous babies: two from premature births, and one for unknown reasons. Right now, the month-old monkey is sticking close to its mother, riding on her back. As the baby ages, other family members will take turns carrying it on their backs, including its 2-year-old sister, Peanut.
“We don’t know the baby’s sex yet,” explained Jan Steele, General Curator for the Zoo. “We don’t want to disturb the bond between the mother and her child, since it’s still early, and she has lost babies before.”
The baby monkey can be seen during regular hours, at exhibit #27 on the Palm Beach Zoo map. Zookeepers are hoping to identify the baby’s sex within the next month. There will be a public naming contest on www.palmbeachzoo.org.
“It’s exciting to grow our Zoo family with another baby monkey,” said Steele. “We are one of only six zoo’s to have a baby spider monkey on exhibit, who is eight months old and growing more adventurous. But this Goeldi’s monkey is still very young, so the mother is protective. The Goeldi’s fur is black and it’s camouflaged really well, but if you look for it closely, you can spot it.”
Goeldi’s (“GEL-dee” with a hard “g”) monkeys typically live in the Upper Amazon Basin of Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia. They live in the tropical rainforest, and prefer areas that have not been disturbed, such as patchy canopies with strong undergrowth. They have extensive communications through vocalization, scents marking and facial and body language. Goeldi’s are omnivores, so they eat fruits, insects and small vertebrates. They are small, with bodies about 8-9 inches long, and tails about 10-12 inches long. Adults typically weigh around one pound.
A mother monkey typically will give birth to one young, and will carry around her baby for the first few weeks. After that, other group members begin carrying it around, although it will return to its mother for nursing.
Goeldi’s monkeys are facing human-induced habitat loss and degradation from logging, farming, oil production and harvesting. One way you can help preserve Goeldi monkey’s habitat is to purchase Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) paper, which was produced using trees that are managed in a sutainable way, preventing mass deforestation. Goeldi’s were named after Emilio Goeldi, who discovered them in 1904.