Monkey Business is Booming at LA Zoo

The L.A. Zoo receives a surprise holiday gift

This holiday surprise is bananas.

A snowy white Kikuyu colobus monkey was born Nov. 27, LA Zoo officials announced Tuesday.

The monkey's arrival came as a surprise because the zoo had put the mother on contraceptives to keep her from breeding. Several zoos across North America already house the same species of  monkey.

Jason Jacobs, the zoo's public relations director, explained "we don't  want to be irresponsible and breed primates if we don't have a home for them."

He called the birth "a nice surprise" and added the zoo will keep the  baby monkey for now.

The beast's gender has yet to be determined.   At birth it weighed about a pound and measured around eight inches long.

Zoo officials will conduct a contest to name the baby. Through Jan. 11, zoo visitors can enter a contest to name the baby  monkey. Results will be announced Jan. 18, with the winner receiving a free  behind-the-scenes tour of the zoo for up to six people.
 
A news release noted the monkeys are "found throughout the forests of central Africa, the colobus is one of the most striking primates in the animal kingdom.  Adult Kikuyu colobus monkeys have black bodies trimmed with long white mantles.  Infant colobus monkeys are born all white and do not start to get their black trim until about three and one half months of age. 

"Colobus monkeys live in highly cohesive social groups.  Thus, the infant is enjoying attention from its father, mother and another adult female.  Check out their interactions with their newest troop member at their exhibit located just past the Zoo*s Mahale Café toward the perimeter road. 

"In celebration of the birth, the L.A. Zoo is inviting visitors to participate in a naming contest for the newborn!  Through January 11, 2010, visitors can fill out a card with their contact information and name suggestion at the colobus exhibit." 

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