COAL VALLEY, Illinois – Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley just welcomed a new addition to its family – a baby boy monkey.
As the animals at Niabi Zoo are braving the final weeks of winter, zookeepers are starting to gear up for spring.
The Niabi Zoo is preparing for the debut of their new baby Colobus monkey this spring giving News 8 an exclusive look at Baby Katavi. But, before meeting the monkey it’s expected to dress in proper gear to not pass any diseases from humans to monkeys.
“There are things that we can pass to primates, and there are things that the primates can pass to us,” says Laura Riggins, Niabi Zoo zookeeper.
“You’re going to be a bit nervous when we first go in,” warns Riggins. “You’re going to hear some interesting noises.”
Right now, Baby Katavi clings to his mother. Katavi was born back in December and unlike the rest of the family Katavi is salt and pepper colored but will grow to look like the other monkeys.
Katavi’s family is lucky to be at Niabi than out in the wild.
“These guys are doing ok in their natural environment,” clarifies Riggins. “But, numbers are a little lower than we’d like and so this is going to help bolster those numbers.”
The Colobus are also super protective of their young. So protective they will swat any cell phone or camera out of someone’s hand if they come too close.
“Electronics, cell phones, any sort of iPad or iPod any of that sort of stuff they are not super big fans of,” says Riggins.
Now, spring moves closer and little Katavi will continue to grow for everyone to see.
“We’ve been saying for a while we’ve said, “watch us grow” and that is really what we are doing here,” Riggins comments.
The Niabi Zoo is getting more new primates before this spring season kicks off. We don’t know what species they are, but we were given a hint they are called the “A-Team” and their names are Azul and Azizi.
The public can check out Katavi when the zoo opens in April.