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New colobus monkey makes debut at St. Louis Zoo

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The St. Louis Zoo has a new resident, and boy is he cute.

The zoo announced Thursday that Teak, a black and white colobus monkey, was born on Feb. 3. Colobus monkeys are born white with a pink face. By age 6 months, the little monkey will get his adult coloration — mostly black hair but with white hair around the face and part of the tail, though adults also have a distinctive mantle of long white hair from their shoulders around the edge of their backs.

Colobus monkeys live in families with several females sharing in the care of newborns, a behavior called allomothering. Teak's mother, Cecelia, has raised five babies of her own along with three other babies in the family, the zoo said.

Teak's father, Kima, watches over the family and often interacts with the youngsters, the zoo said. Teak's sister and his half-sister also interact with and help care for Teak.

"This is a skill necessary for younger female members of the troop to learn and participate in so that they, too, can become successful mothers in the future,” the zoo's primate keeper, Ethan Riepl, said in a news release.

The monkeys, also known as Guereza colobus, are native to east and central Africa. The zoo said Teak's birth is part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Colobus Species Survival Plan, a program that seeks to to manage a genetically healthy population of black and white colobus monkeys in North American zoos.