April 1, 2019

Everything you need to know about the two new primate species at Niabi!

This season, Niabi is proud to announce a new exhibit with two new African primate species never before seen in the Quad Cities: a 9-year-old male Wolf’s Guenon named Azul, and a 6-year-old male Allen’s Swamp monkey named Azizi.

These two new primates, lovingly referred to as “The A-Team,” will have a brand-new habitat to call home at the zoo. The Niabi team has reimagined a portion of the existing giraffe barn and crafted a space tailored to these species. (See African Monkeys on our Zoo Map.)   

“Both of these monkeys are arboreal which means they move through trees climbing and sometimes brachiating,” says assistant director Tammy Schmidt. “They are native to low-land forested areas of Central Africa. It was very important for us to mimic their environment as much as possible.”

The design of the habitat includes high and low areas for feedings and resting spots, indoor pool, rocky contours, and a heat and light source that mimics the sun so that the monkeys receive UVA and UVB rays to stay healthy.

Two new big personalities

“These primates are so unique and fun to watch,” says Schmidt. “I invite the public to observe these two new primates with us to see what they’re saying and indicating by not uttering a word.”

Schmidt says that these two primates communicate in a variety of ways, from using their vocalizations, to the way they land and bounce on a branch, or even a flick of their tails.

“Be sure to watch for their facial expressions,” said Schmidt. “They might look at you funny or move their eyebrows as they size you up!”

The Wolf Guenon and the Allen’s Swamp Monkey are both managed populations, native to the Congo Basin area of Central Africa where both species are at risk for being hunted as bushmeat. For Azizi and Azul, it’s not only great for them to have a safe haven at Niabi, but it’s also great for our community to learn about these exciting and lively species.

“Any new species at Niabi means that we’re moving forward,” said Schmidt. “It’s exciting for us and our community to keep learning and growing.”

You can learn more about these species every Wednesday at noon during our FREE Zookeeper Chat.

Fast Facts Wolf’s Guenon

  • Found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo through Uganda
  • Considered diurnal (active in the day)
  • Social animal: interacts in mixed species groups
  • Arboreal quadruped (uses all four limbs to move throughout tree branches)

Fast Facts Allen’s Swamp Monkey

  • Found in the swamp forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Western Central African Republic
  • Considered diurnal (active in the day)
  • Arboreal (live in trees)
  • Semi-terrestrial (live mostly on land, good swimmer, lives near water)

What to look for on your visit:

  • Facial expressions. Azizi and Azul have big personalities!
  • The way they eat. You might spot them dunking their food in water.
  • The way they interact with each other. (Hint: the smaller Allen’s Swamp monkey is in charge!)
  • Brachiation and movement. Check out the way they move using only their arms through tree materials all sustainably sourced from Niabi’s surrounding forest.

Meet the ‘A’ Team today! Plan your visit.

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