Rare monkey born at Houston zoo

HOUSTON The Houston Zoo is proud to announce the birth of a rare monkey at Wortham World of Primates. The arrival of the Schmidt's red tailed guenon baby marks the first birth of the species at the Zoo in 29 years.

"The new arrival is a boy and his name is Matani," said primate supervisor Dena Strange. "Matani means 'strength' in Swahili and the baby is living up to his name. He's very strong and healthy. His mother, Malaika is being a great mom," added Strange.

The baby's father, Kabili arrived at the Zoo in 2006 with several other monkeys recovered from the bushmeat and illegal pet trade in Africa.

"This is and important birth for the Houston Zoo and the species," said Strange. "We haven't had a guenon birth at the Zoo in 29 years and this is Kabili's first offspring. That's important for the population since there are only 37 of these monkeys living in 10 zoos in this country," added Strange.

While the Schmidt's red tailed guenon is not critically endangered, the species is protected by an international agreement.

Found in the Central African Republic, Kenya, and Uganda, Schmidt's red-tailed guenons have white noses and long red tails. Their tails provide balance as they move through trees looking for their favorite foods – fruits, leaves, and insects. In the wild they live in small groups in swamp forests and forests surrounding rivers. They are considered a threatened species due to habitat destruction from deforestation.

The Houston Zoo is located at 1513 North MacGregor. The Zoo is open daily during Daylight Saving Time from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. with the last ticket sold at 6 p.m. Regular admission is $10 for adults, $5.75 for seniors, $5 for children ages 2-11 and FREE for children under 2.

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