De Brazza’s Monkey Born at the Zoo

Posted Date

August 17, 2023


Animal Updates, In The News


The little one now has a name! The animal care team decided on “Heri.” In Swahili, the name means “happiness” and can also mean “blessed” or “good luck.”

Heri has become more independent and quite adventurous. Holly continues to be a very attentive mom and is available if he needs help. Dad, Hugo, maintains a respectful distance.

Heri has been weighed with Holly holding him, and they recently weighed 6 kg (about 13 pounds) together.

Check out the video below of curious Heri!

Originally posted:

It was an exciting Saturday for visitors to the Primates of the World building at the Milwaukee County Zoo — a male De Brazza’s monkey was born in the habitat, in front of the public!

The animal care team shares that mom Holly, 6, had a smooth birth on June 10 and that she and the baby are doing well. Holly is a first-time mom and has been attentive right from the start. Dad is Hugo, 4. Because Holly’s so attentive (and protective), zookeepers have avoided getting too involved, including weighing the baby, unless there’s cause for concern.

Hugo shares the habitat with Mom and baby and has been very accommodating – giving Holly a lot of space, and she seems very comfortable around him.

De Brazza’s monkeys are typically under 3 pounds at birth, although this baby was quite large. The animal care team observes baby and Mom constantly and is committed to supporting Holly with whatever she may need.

You’ll likely see the baby clinging to Mom for his first month before starting to venture off her. Holly carries the baby ventrally, on the front of her body – on her chest or sometimes between her legs, if sitting. He’s very observant, nursing well, and will be dependent on Holly for up to one year. The baby will also nurse for up to one year, and at about 8 weeks, he’ll start solids.

De Brazza’s monkeys are arboreal (live in trees) and native to Central Africa, from Cameroon to Kenya. They’re a distinctive and colorful species known for their white facial hair that resembles a beard. With their white belly, speckled grayish coat, and black extremities, they have quite an elegant appearance.

Holly and Hugo arrived from other AZA-accredited institutions late last year, in the hopes of becoming the first breeding pair of De Brazza’s monkeys at MCZ. Holly has been around other De Brazza’s monkeys while they give birth and raise offspring, and the animal care team was hopeful that she would have the maternal skills needed. According to the team, she’s proven to be “a rockstar!”

This new baby helps contribute to species conservation and management through participation in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP). The SSP helps ensure the survival of selected species in zoos and aquariums, most of which are threatened or endangered in the wild.

The last primates born “on view” at MCZ were in spring 2022, with three Japanese Macaque births.

Visit Primates of the World during your next Zoo visit to see the new baby and his parents!

For faster entry: Members and pre-ticketed guests, park at West End (enter at 106th St).