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Minnesota Zoo Celebrates Early Mother’s Day with Three Snow Monkey Births
Apple Valley, MN – May 4, 2015: The Minnesota Zoo is excited to announce the births of three snow monkeys who are making their public debuts just in time for Mother’s Day! The infants, born April 17, April 20 and May 1, are each staying close to their moms but are beginning to venture out on their own.
Born to moms “Yuki,” “Shumei,” and “Yumoto,” the genders of the monkeys are not yet known and they are not yet named. Newborn snow monkeys weigh approximately one pound at birth, but with time and steady diets, they should join the rest of their companions in the 15-25 pound range. The two new additions are part of a special group of 20 primates that is especially social.
Also called Japanese macaques, snow monkeys – considered a threatened species by the US Fish and Wildlife Service – are medium-sized primates recognizable by their reddish-colored faces, whiskers/beards, and long, dense gray fur. They originate from Japan, including the Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, and Takeshima Islands. Snow monkeys typically live in troops ranging from 10-200 individuals, and spend their days both in trees and on the ground. They have a complex system of communication including more than 30 vocal sounds and a wide range of facial and body expressions. They eat fruit, roots, leaves, insects, and crops such as rice, maize and potatoes.
After a gestation period of 170-180 days, snow monkeys give birth–almost always to a single infant–between April and July. Although infants are a great source of interest to other females in the group, mothers do not allow other monkeys to pick up their infants for several weeks after birth. Research has revealed that this species has highly complex social structures and excellent learning abilities. Individuals have been known to participate in interesting behavior patterns, like washing their food, which are learned in time by other members of the troop. Females stay in their family groups for life and help rear other infants born within the family.
The Minnesota Zoo is a year-round destination located in Apple Valley, just minutes south of Mall of America. Its mission is to connect people, animals and the natural world to save wildlife. For more information, call 952.431.9500 or visit mnzoo.org. The Minnesota Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and an institutional member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).