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Japanese Macaque born at Blank Park Zoo
Japanese Macaque born at Blank Park Zoo.
For Immediate Release
DES MOINES, Iowa (May 9, 2012) – Iowa’s Blank Park Zoo announced today the birth of a female Japanese macaque. The baby, born on April 20 weighed 450 grams at birth.
“It’s adorable,” said Mark Vukovich, CEO of Blank Park Zoo.
Keepers sprang into action after noticing the mother neglecting the baby and are hand raising it. This is a big commitment for keepers because the baby must be bottle fed every couple of hours until she is weaned at about six months of age. After that, she will be introduced to the rest of the troop.
“This is a positive step forward for the Japanese macaque breeding program, but we can’t call it a success until the mothers learn how to care for their young” said Kevin Drees, director of animal care and conservation. “None of our females of breeding age have raised a baby before so that is why keepers had to intervene.”
Because the baby will not be seen on exhibit, zoo officials are setting up a webcam at www.blankparkzoo.com. Viewers will be able to see the macaque grow for several weeks.
In the wild baby macaques cling to their moms, so she was given several teddy bears to ‘hug.’
As far as a name, zoo officials have decided to raffle a chance to name the baby. Tickets cost $1 and can be purchased at the admissions desk of the zoo. Information on how to purchase tickets can be obtained at the zoo’s website, www.blankparkzoo.com
The birth announcement also coincides with the re-opening of the Japanese macaque exhibit. The new exhibit features a tunnel made to look like a log where visitors can go into the exhibit and look through a special ‘one way’ or mirrored glass. The macaques also like the interactive because they like to look at themselves in the reflection of the mirror.
It’s been since 1995 since the last successful rearing of a Japanese macaque at Blank Park Zoo. The Zoo brought in several breeding age male macaques in 2009 with hopes that a program could be established.
About Japanese Macaques
They range from the subtropical lowlands to the subalpine regions of Japan.
Diet in the Wild:
Leaves, grain, fruit, insects, tree buds, shoots, and mice
Diet at the Zoo:
Monkey biscuits, oranges, sunflower seeds, and raisins. Free browsing
The average body mass for an adult male Japanese macaque is around 25 pounds and they measure from 19 to 24 inches. The fur color varies from brown to white. There is no hair on the face and it becomes red during adulthood. This species has a relatively short tail.
Japanese macaques are tree dwelling (arboreal) and active during the day (diurnal.) They are social animals and live in troops comprising of both males and females. Hierarchy in the troop is based on the matriline amongst females and strength amongst males. Macaques are intelligent and may use tools to obtain food. In the cold winter months, they will bask in the sun and soak in natural hot springs. This species has cheek pouches to carry food in while it forages.
When the female is ready to mate, her perineum swells and becomes redden. Gestation period is between 170 to 180 days. Single births occur, and breeding time is usually from November to January.
Japanese macaques are threatened due to deforestation and the loss of their habitat. As human development invade the territories of these macaques, human and macaque encounters increase, and about 5000 macaques are captured or shot each year (despite protection from the Japanese government) for they are considered as agricultural pests.
About Blank Park Zoo
Blank Park Zoo, Iowa’s WILDEST Adventure, is open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. everyday this summer. Admission rates are $11 for adults, $6 for children under 12, and $9 for seniors and active military. Children two years and under and Blank Park Zoo members are free. The Zoo is located at 7401 SW 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50315. Visit the Zoo online at . The Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) The AZA is America’s leading accrediting organization that sets rigorous, professional standards for zoos and aquariums. The AZA is building North America's largest wildlife conservation movement by engaging and inspiring the 143 million annual visitors to its member institutions and their communities to care about and take action to help protect wildlife.