Baby Boom at Philadelphia Zoo

Philadelphia Zoo announces five new births within its animal collection

PHILADELPHIA, PA (November 18, 2013) – Philadelphia Zoo is excited to announce five additions to its animal family -- four black and white colobus monkeys and a baby white-handed gibbon.
On September 3rd, Moja, a female black and white colobus monkey, was born to 10-year-old mother, Johari. Moja, whose name means ‘number one’ in Swahili, was the first of four colobus monkeys born at the Zoo this fall. We also welcomed:
  • Mbiili, a male whose name means ‘number two’ in Swahili, born to 8-year-old mother, Dhoruba on October 8th.
  • Tatu, a female whose name means ‘number three’ in Swahili, born to 9-year-old mother, Zabibu on October 23rd.
  • And most recently, Nne, a male whose name means ‘number four’ in Swahili, born to 15-year-old mother, Ophelia on November 9th.
11-year-old Chua, the group’s only male, is the father of all four offspring. With these new births, Chua is now a proud father of 10 -- the previous six offspring were fathered at Chehaw Wild Animal Park (CWAP), and are currently at zoos across the country.
All are healthy and were given immediate access to their exhibit at the South end of the Zoo in the Cheetah Run area. The Zoo is also home to a second group of colobus monkeys housed in the Rare Animal Conservation Center. Colobus monkey babies are white at birth, and slowly turn to their adult coloration within the first month of life. Before they begin independent play, the babies can most likely be seen clutching on to their mothers. This species uses “aunting”, a supplemental parenting technique, so you may see any adult female carrying any one of the infants.
On November 2nd, a male white-handed gibbon was born to the Zoo’s 24-year-old female, Phoenice. This is the second offspring for Phoenice and 23-year-old male Mercury – two-year-old male, Leo, is their first. The family currently resides in PECO Primate Reserve, and can be seen on exhibit as a group. In the wild, white-handed gibbons typically live in serial monogamous pairs with up to four offspring, but sometimes live in multi-male groups or groups with multiple adult females.  Zoo staff expects the baby to be blonde (of buff) like his older brother, but in this particular species, coat color is not linked to gender as their father has a black coat.
“It is always exciting for us to announce successful births at Philadelphia Zoo,” says Kevin Murphy, General Curator. “In this case, we are happy that our management efforts resulted in a substantial growth of one particular group of black and white colobus monkeys, and to once again experience breeding success with an endangered species – the white-handed gibbon.” The Philadelphia Zoo works with Species Survival Plans® (SSP), whose mission is to manage populations of threatened, endangered and other species across AZA zoos, to maintain long-term genetic and demographic viability.
The Zoo would like your help naming the baby white-handed gibbon. Please visit to cast your vote. 
America's first zoo and one of the region's foremost conservation organizations, the Philadelphia Zoo is home to more than 1,300 animals, many rare and endangered. By connecting people with wildlife, the Philadelphia Zoo creates joyful discovery and inspires action for animals and habitats. The Philadelphia region’s leading family destination, the Zoo welcomed more than 1.2 million visitors last year. The Philadelphia Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. For more information on the Philadelphia Zoo, as well as to purchase and print tickets online, visit us at Philadelphia Zoo is a non-smoking facility.