Courtesy Sondra Katzen

The Chicago Zoological Society is happy to announce the birth of an Angolan colobus monkey at Brookfield Zoo on March 9. This is the first birth of this species of colobus born at the zoo. Both mom and her baby may be seen daily in the zoo’s Tropic World: Africa exhibit.

“We are excited to be able to bring a new species of colobus to Brookfield Zoo for our guests to view,” said Jay Petersen, curator of mammals for the Society. “Angolan colobuses are a very eye-catching species with their black body and face, long white hair extending from their shoulders, and a 25-inch black-and-white tail.”

Infants are born completely white, which is great camouflage as they blend in with their mom’s long white hair. As the young monkey develop, zoogoers will notice it begin to change color from white to gray to black, reaching adult coloration at approximately three months of age.

Guests may also notice the infant’s mom, Olivia, 5, sharing maternal care with the other females in the group: Chaka, 4, and Tina, 17, who is mother to both younger females, as well as Sasha, 12, the sire. Angolan colobuses allo-parent, meaning that other members in the group take turns carrying the baby, who goes back to Mom when she wants it back or when the baby needs to nurse.

All four adults arrived at Brookfield Zoo in August 2012 from Columbus Zoo, Ohio, on a breeding loan that was recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Angolan Colobus Species Survival Plan (SSP). An SSP is a cooperative population management and conservation program for select species in accredited AZA zoos and aquariums. Each SSP manages the breeding of a species to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable.

Angolan colobuses are found in dense rain forests throughout equatorial Africa. These animals are the most arboreal of the African monkeys, spending most of their time in the canopy. The species is threatened in parts of its range due to habitat destruction for timber and for agricultural use. In certain areas, such as the Congo Basin, people hunt them for meat.

The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, inspires conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. Open every day of the year, the zoo is located off First Avenue between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and is also accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA, and PACE bus service. For further information, visit