Guereza colobus monkey is Cincinnati Zoo's first baby of 2017

Posted at 10:37 AM, Jan 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-18 14:07:34-05

CINCINNATI -- It might be a warm week in January, but there's a little snowball at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.

A guereza colobus monkey is the first zoo baby of 2017. It was born to first-time mother Adanna and dad Tiberius, who also was born at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Guereza colobus babies are snowy white with pink faces and blue eyes, making it easy for their mothers and families to see them in the dense rainforest canopies of Africa, their native habitat. By about six months, the monkey turns black and white like adults.

The baby monkey's coloration makes it easy for its mother to spot it in the dense forest canopy. Photo provided

The zoo's new baby monkey doesn't have a name yet -- zoo staff don't know if it's a boy or girl. But zoo spokeswoman Michelle Curley said it's strong, alert and nursing.

The baby will spend the winter behind the scenes with mom Adanna; visitors can see them later this year.

The guereza colobus was once thought to be abnormal because it has no thumb, or only a stub where the thumb would usually be.

Colobus monkeys spend the majority of their time in trees. They're vegetarian and equipped with a three-chambered stomach to help digest large amounts of leaves.  The biggest threat to the colobus is habitat loss. When forests are cut down to make room for agriculture, settlements, and roads, the colobus monkey loses its home.