The four females currently live in the open rainforest habitat
Brevard County • Melbourne, Florida – If you’ve come to visit, you may have seen – or heard – our Rainforest’s howling black monkeys. 22-year-old Madi and 17-year-old Stormy have called our zoo since 2017, and they will soon have four new friends of the same kind.
Four female howler monkeys arrived earlier this week from the San Francisco Zoo as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (SSP) Species Survival Plan for their species.
Three of the four were recommended by SSP for mating with Stormy. The SSP is designed to manage animal populations within AZA accredited zoos to ensure healthy, genetically diverse populations exist.
Twelve-year-old Baya comes to us with three of her offspring (all of different births): 6-year-old Benny, 5-year-old Patata and 4-year-old Beetle. Bia, Penny, and Beetle are recommended to mate with Stormy, while
Potato has previously been sterilized as a result of a medical condition.
The four females currently live in the exposed rainforest habitat across the corridor from the flooded forest habitat. This is just a temporary home where they are subject to a period of quarantine to prevent the introduction of new diseases or parasites to the animals already in our care.
As a precaution, all animals are quarantined (either behind the scenes or in habitat) upon arrival for a minimum of 30 days.
Our team chose to isolate this group in the habitat so they could see, smell, and hear Stormy and Maddie (and vice versa) throughout the process.
This allows us to start the application phase early. This temporary home is also a more suitable space for a larger group of howler monkeys as our new females.
When their quarantine period is over, the new monkeys will be slowly introduced to Stormy and Maddie using our tunnel systems.
We call this process ‘hilarious’, as the two groups meet a barrier between them so that we can measure their social interactions. Our animal care staff will closely supervise throughout this period to monitor positive social behaviors between new females and older residents.
Positive behaviors that our team will look for include compliments and caring attempts. The most important thing we look for moving forward in the application process is the lack of territorial behaviors such as howling or brushing teeth.
Black howler monkeys typically live in groups of 5-10 in their natural habitat, so our group size is well within the normal range of social structures.
When the introductions are complete, all six howler monkeys will live together in the Flooded Forest along with capybaras, parrots, ducks, and more!
“This is a huge and very diverse habitat that will allow them to co-exist easily within their own personal space while bonding as troops,” said animal curator Zach Marchetti.
“We are very optimistic that with the introduction of these females, we will have a successful breeding team of howler monkeys for years to come,” said Zack.
“Hopefully, the howling little monkeys will be on their way in the near future!”
Black howler monkeys are named for their loud calls, which are often heard at dusk and dawn. Females of this species usually produce one offspring every two years after a gestation period of six months.
Although black howler monkeys are not considered endangered, they are threatened within their natural range due to habitat loss, agricultural development, and human hunting.
– Brevard Zoo