Lincoln Park Zoo’s new snow monkey exhibit just opened in April, and it’s population has already grown by one.
“We are absolutely elated to announce the first successful Japanese macaque birth here at Regenstein Macaque Forest,” Curator of Primates Maureen Leahy said in a statement Monday. “The baby appears healthy, is regularly nursing and visually exploring the exhibit while clinging tightly on Ono’s torso.”
The newest macaque was born born Saturday and zoo officials believe it is a male, though 10-year-old mother Ono has not allowed examination. The baby, who keeps a firm hold on his mother, has not been named.
The baby joins eight other snow monkeys at North Side zoo’s newest exhibit, which features a hot spring, stream and various levels, which will create “an ideal environment for the growing snow monkey population,” the zoo statement said. The monkey troop moved into the space last fall.
Ono was recommended for breeding as part of the Japanese Macaque Species Survival Plan, an organization that manages populations in accredited zoos.
“From a research perspective, this is a significant addition to the population,” research scientist Katie Cronin said in the statement. “The new baby will be the first in this population to grow up with access to touch-screen computers – a tool that the monkey can decide whether or not to use – so that we can study cognitive abilities and gain a better understanding of how they think and feel.”
The baby can be seen daily, with Ono, at the Regenstein Macaque Forest, open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The new Japanese macaque at Lincoln Park Zoo hangs on tightly to mother Ono. | Todd Rosenberg / Lincoln Park Zoo