Baby monkey welcomed in Saint John zoo

Saint John's Cherry Brook Zoo says a baby Callimico Goeldii, an endangered species, was born last week.

Cherry Brook Zoo staff say the baby Callimico Goeldii weighs about 1 ounce

Saint John zoo excited about latest addition, rare Callimico Goeldii. 1:53

A baby Callimico Goeldii monkey was born in Saint John’s Cherry Brook Zoo last week to a mother that was snatched from the facility five years ago.

The baby monkey was born on March 9 and weighs barely more than one ounce, according to the zoo.

Lynda Collrin, the director of zoo development and a primatologist, said the Callimico GoeldiI is one of the rarest primates on Earth, though scientists are unsure how many remain.

The Cherry Brook Zoo is part of an international species survival plan and the new baby is destined to play a part in that initiative.

"That baby will, when the time comes, be sent off to hopefully establish a new blood line," Collrin said.

Zoo staff say they do not know yet if the baby is a male or female.

The newborn monkey will stay with its mother for at least a year before it joins a mate as part of the species breeding program.

Monkey breeding like ‘eHarmony but with a lot more research’

The baby monkey's mother, April, was snatched from the Saint John zoo for three days in 2008. Zoo staff did not know how that incident would affect April as a mother. (Courtesy of the Cherry Brook Zoo)

When choosing a mate for the tiny monkey, the zoo staff was able to pick between two male Goeldii's brought from Quebec.

Collrin said she picked the bigger, stronger specimen for April to mate with.

"It's like eHarmony, but with a lot more research and careful tracking put in to it," she said.

The zoo’s new monkey is the first baby for April, who has been at the facility for several years. This isn’t the first time April has become the centre of attention.

April was kidnapped from the Saint John zoo and held for three days in 2008.

April was nine months old when she was taken from the Cherry Brook Zoo. She was discovered after an anonymous tip sent police to the Bayside Drive area of the city, where she was found in a blue plastic box.

Collrin said she wasn't sure how that trauma and separation would affect April as a mother.

But she said so far the experience has not affected her maternal instincts.

"She is an amazing mother, we're shocked to be honest," she said.

The concern over the long-term impact of the kidnapping comes after another monkey at the zoo experienced lasting effects. In 2009, the zoo said April’s brother, Charlie, had become overly protective of her following the theft.

Charlie's overprotective tendencies had resulted in three baby monkeys dying since April was stolen. The monkey was trying to protect the babies and did not allow them to have enough nourishment.