Hattiesburg Zoo is holding a competition to name a new Colubus monkey

In mid-April, Hattiesburg Zoo officials announced the arrival of a new baby Colubus monkey, born on the 9th of the month to parents Mombasa and Makeda.

Now the zoo is giving guests the chance to help in an ongoing competition to name the baby. Until May 20th, participants can choose between four names at https://bit.ly/3yGP8PB or on the Facebook or Instagram page of Hattiesburg Zoo.

“The Colubus baby is really exciting; the keepers are all very excited,” said animal curator Kristen Moore. “So we wanted to share that excitement with our community.

“And what’s more fun than naming a baby monkey? We all came up with that, it was a naming contest.”

Contestants can choose from four different names chosen by the keepers from a long list: Mojo, Masala, Mowgli and Mongo.

“Really, we all just got together and decided we needed a name that went with Mom and Dad’s names,” Moore said. “Father’s name is Mombasa and mother’s name is Makeda, so we just started looking around — honestly, we googled the internet — names that would go with it, and these are the ones we found.”

Although zoo staff believe they see a clear front-runner in the competition, the winner’s name will be kept secret until it is announced on the zoo’s Facebook page on May 24.

“We’re probably going to do some kind of reveal video,” Moore said. “We’re still in the process of putting that together.”

The Colubus monkeys still alternate time in their free-range life with the Debrazza monkey family. In the near future, both species will share space as before.

Colubus monkeys are native to Africa; There are five Colubus species and at least eight subspecies. They are most commonly found in dense forests, where they feed on leaves, flowers, and fruit.

The monkeys that don’t have thumbs are arboreal, which means they spend most of their time in the treetops. Complex behaviors have been observed in the Colubus species, including greeting rituals and different sleeping patterns in groups.

The greeting behavior is generally performed by the approaching monkey and is often followed by grooming.

“They swing a lot, so they’re very active, very vigorous,” said Rick Taylor, executive director of the Hattiesburg Convention Commission, which runs the zoo. “The De Brazzas are more ground-dwelling, so[they are]a good mix together.”

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