Edmonton

Valley Zoo welcomes baby monkey

Edmonton's Valley Zoo held a coming out party Thursday for its newest resident, a baby squirrel monkey.
Edmonton's Valley Zoo held a coming out party for its newest member Thursday, a baby squirrel monkey. ((Valley Zoo))
Edmonton's Valley Zoo held a coming out party Thursday for its newest resident, a baby squirrel monkey.

The newcomer, born Feb. 1, will ride on its mother's back for the next six to 10 weeks. Once it becomes more independent, zookeepers will be able to examine the infant to determine its gender.

"It's always good to have an animal breeding in captivity because that show us they are not stressed and they are having a good life," said Stephanie Fujita, who works at the zoo.

The Valley Zoo's new squirrel monkey won't be named until it's mature enough to be handled by keepers to determine its gender. ((Valley Zoo))
The baby monkey has two sisters, Keisha and Keeley, and has already begun hopping onto other monkeys as it matures.

"The first month of age they stay with the mom," said Fujita. "Around a month and a half, two months, they start exploring more [of] the world, so the other older siblings will help to take care of them and to play with them."

Squirrel monkey are native to the forests of Central and South America and live anywhere from nine to 20 years. The ones the Valley Zoo are part of a breeding program aimed at protecting their genetic diversity.

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