Mother Ono gave birth on May 2nd at the zoo’s Regenstein Macaque Forest. Keepers have identified her as having a tendency for firsts. She was also the first of the eight macaques which live at the zoo to take a dip in their hot spring. She has proven to be a brilliant mother having cleaned and given appropriate care to her infant in the first few hours. She is experienced having had a baby at her previous home.
Keepers have discovered that it is a male. They are still yet to name the little-guy.
It is unknown who the baby’s father is. Any of the troops three males including leader Akita, Miyagi or Kuma could have fathered the infant. Until he receives his first physical exam a few months into the future keepers will not be able to use DNA testing to discover his paternity.
Groups of Japanese macaques are led by an alpha male with their societal rank inherited from their mother. With Ono being a middle ranked female it is likely her infant will too become one.
Regenstein Macaque Forest opened a month before the birth on April 2nd. The group of eight macaques came to the zoo from the Japan Monkey Centre in Inuyama last fall.
“We are absolutely elated too announce the first successful Japanese macaque birth here at Regenstein Macaque Forest,” said Curator of Primates Maureen Leahy. “The baby appears healthy, is regularly nursing and visually exploring the exhibit while clinging tightly on Ono’s torso.”
This breeding was recommended by the Japanese Macaque Species Survival Program (SSP). This program manages the breeding of all snow monkeys in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
The macaques housed at Lincoln Park Zoo are part of a research project.
“From a research perspective, this is a significant addition to the population,” said Research Scientist Katie Cronin, PhD. “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.”
Japenese macaques come from Japan. There they tolerate a range of climates from tropical lowlands through to sub alpine areas.
Photo Credit: Lincoln Park Zoo