De Brazza’s Monkey Born at the Milwaukee County Zoo


It was an exciting Saturday for visitors to the Primates of the World building at the Milwaukee County Zoo — a De Brazza’s monkey was born in their habitat, in front of the public!

The animal care team shares that mom Holly, 6, had a smooth birth on June 10 and that she and the baby are doing well. Holly is a first-time mom and has been attentive right from the start. Dad is Hugo, 4. Because Holly’s so attentive (and protective), zookeepers have avoided getting too involved, including weighing the baby or determining their sex initially, unless there’s cause for concern.

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Hugo shares the habitat with Mom and baby and has been very accommodating – giving Holly a lot of space and she seems very comfortable around him.

De Brazza’s monkeys are typically under 3 pounds at birth, although this baby was quite large. A name will be chosen after zookeepers have an opportunity to confirm the sex (although they have their suspicions). The animal care team observes baby and Mom constantly and is committed to supporting Holly with whatever she may need.

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The De Brazza’s monkeys — including baby — are viewable in the indoor habitat daily, and you’ll likely see the baby clinging to Mom for their first month before starting to venture off her. Holly carries the baby ventrally, on the front of her body – on her chest or sometimes between her legs, if sitting. They’re very observant, nursing well, and will be dependent on Holly for up to one year. The baby will also nurse for up to one year, and at about 8 weeks, they’ll start solids.

De Brazza’s monkeys are arboreal (live in trees) and native to Central Africa, from Cameroon to Kenya. They’re a distinctive and colorful species known for their white facial hair that resembles a beard. With their white belly, speckled grayish coat, and black extremities, they have quite an elegant appearance.

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Holly and Hugo arrived from other AZA-accredited institutions late last year, in the hopes of becoming the first breeding pair of De Brazza’s monkeys at MCZ. Holly has been around other De Brazza’s monkeys while they give birth and raise offspring, and the animal care team was hopeful that she would have the maternal skills needed. According to the team, she’s proven to be “a rockstar!”

This new baby helps contribute to species conservation and management through participation in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP). The SSP helps ensure the survival of selected species in zoos and aquariums, most of which are threatened or endangered in the wild.

The last primates born “on view” at MCZ were in spring 2022, with three Japanese Macaque births.

The baby and parents can be seen in the indoor habitat through Sunday, June 18.  Beginning next week, they’ll have access to the outdoor yard daily at 11 a.m.  Guests will need to look through the rear glass windows of the indoor habitat to see them in the yard.

Visit Primates of the World during your next Zoo visit to see the new baby and their parents!



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