Newborn De Brazza's monkey debuts at Oregon Zoo

Parents Brooke and Gus are keeping their newborn close

A baby De Brazza's monkey was born at the Oregon Zoo over the weekend. Late-night keepers first saw the new arrival around 10:30 p.m. on Feb. 24. The mom, 22-year-old Brooke, has been keeping her newborn close, and the zoo's animal-care staff has yet to determine the baby's gender.

"We are happy for Brooke and excited about this new addition to the De Brazza's family," said curator Jennifer Davis, who oversees the zoo's primate area. "The little one seems to be healthy, and Brooke is a great mom. The baby is nursing well and very alert."

Visitors can see Brooke and her new baby — as well as the father, 12-year-old Gus — starting today in the zoo's Africa Savanna section.

"The baby is pretty much attached to Brooke's belly right now," Davis said. "But in a few weeks, we'll probably see him or her venturing out a little more."

Covered in light brownish fur except for its pink face, the newborn has yet to develop the distinctive colorings of an adult De Brazza's monkey: grayish torso, black limbs and tail, white goatee, with a band of reddish fur forming a crown across the forehead.

Davis said Brooke and Gus were brought together based on a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' species survival plan for De Brazza's monkeys.

"They've obviously been getting along very well," she added.

De Brazza's monkeys inhabit the dense, swampy forests of equatorial Africa, from western Cameroon to southern Ethiopia on the continent's east coast. They spend most of their time in the treetops and are most active during the early and later parts of the day. The monkeys are primarily herbivores, foraging for fruit, buds, young leaves and flowers — but will occasionally catch insects and lizards to eat. They are territorial and live in small family groups.

The species is named for Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, the late-19th-century explorer who founded Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of the Congo. Though not considered endangered, De Brazza's monkeys face threats from the African pet trade as well as habitat destruction and fragmentation, especially by Ethiopian coffee plantations. In Ethiopia, the species is protected from hunting and trapping.

Learn more about De Brazza's monkeys.