Local Zoo Gets New Baby

One word to describe the newest member of the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans: lively.

Habari, a baby black-and-white Colobus monkey, barely sat still as she got acquainted with her new home. She frolicked and rolled around in her enclosure with excitement.

“Little youngsters are a new type of energy,” said Courtney Eparvier, curator of primates for the zoo.

A tiny, furry creature with curious eyes, Habari would periodically break away from her mother to scamper along the ledge of their tree-filled habitat before hurrying back to bury herself in her mother’s arms.

After her birth, zoo workers trying to determine Habari’s sex were struck by the newborn’s vibrant personality.

“She’s like ‘Hello, I’m here,’ ” Ms. Eparvier said with a laugh. “ ‘What’s up, world?’ ”

Born on April 27, Habari is only a few weeks old but she is already drawing the public’s interest. During a recent visit to the exhibit, people were gathered outside the enclosure, cameras in hand, eager to see her.

“I noticed people were saying, that’s the baby we saw on TV,” said Frank Donze, communications director for the Audubon Zoo.

Habari’s family is no stranger to being at the center of attention. Last year, Kivuli, her father, grabbed headlines when he escaped briefly, causing a one-hour shutdown of the zoo.

Habari’s birth is important for the continuation of her species, which is considered threatened due to the loss of forest in its natural habitat in Central Africa. The species is unique because it has reduced or no thumbs.

Ms. Eparvier said Habari’s arrival is “quite an exciting thing” because of the dwindling number of her kind in the wild.

Habari’s name, which means “Hello” in Swahili, was partially chosen because of her species is from Central Africa. Ms. Eparvier said the team believes it is important to choose names from the species’ native areas.

For now, Ms. Eparvier’s team can look but not touch. They are limiting interactions with the baby monkey because foreign touch could cause stress to Habari’s mother.

Audubon Zoo officials said they hope to welcome more new arrivals. In collaboration with the San Diego Zoo, Audubon is building a 1,000-acre breeding center and enclosure nearby in the hopes of propagating endangered and threatened species, which include giraffes, flamingos, storks and pelicans.