DULUTH — A monkey born at Lake Superior Zoo in May was already showing signs of independence from his mother Thursday.
Táami, a black-crested mangabey, clung to the underside of his mom, Kiwi, as she sprang from the cage walls to a circular swing at the zoo. But his tiny hands were quick to grasp the swing's chains and reach for the peanuts his mom was eating.
"He's still getting used to his limbs," said primate keeper Bethany Wright. Kiwi will stay within a foot of Táami until he is about six weeks old; then he will hang out with his dad, Zidell, for the first time.
"He will be the one teaching him how to be a mangabey," Wright said.
The family is part of a troop of four that came to Duluth from Illinois' Brookfield Zoo in 2018. Only 28 of these monkeys remain in the United States. Native to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in central Africa, they've been given a "vulnerable" status by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
"We feel very lucky and we are proud to have a new baby here," said Haley Cope, CEO of the zoo.
The rambunctious mangabeys aren't shy around visitors and use a "whoop-gobble" sound to communicate.
"These guys are among the smartest animals we have here," Wright said. "They get into a lot of trouble."
The monkeys tear apart toys to see what's inside and are "very invested" in anything new that enters their exhibit, she said.
Also relatively new to the zoo is Syke, a black bear that arrived from the Minnesota Zoo in February. It moved into the digs vacated by Tundra and Banks, two brown bears now in the new Bear Country exhibit. That exhibit replaced the long-empty Polar Shores space that has been closed since the devastating 2012 flood in Duluth that led to the deaths of a dozen zoo animals and the escape of a seal onto nearby Grand Avenue.
Jana Hollingsworth • 218-508-2450