Fota Wildlife Park are excited to announce the arrival of Freya, a new female Black and white colobus monkey who came from Zoo La Palmyre, France earlier this year as part of a European ex-situ breeding programme.
Freya, who is four and a half years old, is being gradually introduced to the resident breeding male Black and white Colobus. Freya can be seen acclimatising to her new surroundings in the colobus monkey house located just inside the main entrance. She will be joined by three other female colobus monkeys, Nia, Kimani and Massassi who will be coming to Fota from the Bojnice National Zoo, Slovakia in the coming months.
A native of Africa, the distinctive-looking Black and white colobus live high up in the forest canopy, which can be very cold. They are mostly covered in a long black pelt which contrasts with a flowing white mantle of hair on their shoulders and back and feature white facial hair and beard. Colobus monkeys are herbivorous and eat leaves, fruit, flowers, and twigs.
Lead ranger Teresa Power said, “We are delighted to welcome this new female Colobus, Freya. We hope that Freya will breed with the dominant male colobus, Tom. Although listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as Least Concern, the Black and white colobus is popular for its unique coat and has been hunted for centuries because of this. The Black and white colobus’ native African habitat is threatened by agricultural developments and timber production. Therefore, ex-situ breeding programmes at wildlife parks and zoos are essential for species survival.”
Fota’s Colobus monkeys are of a race known as kikuyuensis, which originate in the cool mountain forests of Kenya. In Fota, they eat monkey chow, fruits, vegetables, and willow branches. The original group was made up of bachelors who arrived in Fota Wildlife Park from Belfast Zoo in 2010.
To learn more about the Black & White Colobus Monkeys please check out their species page here.
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