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      Rosamond Gifford Zoo welcomes new Baby Patas Monkey

      Baby monkey and mother / photo: Rosamond Gifford Zoo

      There's a new furry friend to visit at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo.

      Zoo officials just announced the birth of a second patas monkey. Parents, Addie and M.J., welcomed the new baby at approximately 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. A female baby, D.J., was born back in January.

      "Births at the zoo are exciting for everyone," said Ted Fox, director of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. "This new baby is an excellent indication that the patas monkeys are comfortable in their new environment and thriving under the care of the staff here at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo."

      So is the new baby monkey a boy or a girl? Zoo officials still don't know, and it will likely be several weeks before they do. The zoo maintains a "hands-off" approach with primate babies.

      Once they figure out the monkey's gender, the zoo will host a naming contest and you'll have a chance to help choose the new baby's name.

      The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is one of just 15 American zoos to house patas monkeys. They are part of a Species Survival Plan, a collaborative effort between the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and zoos around the world to help ensure their survival.

      "A new baby monkey is great news," said Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney. "The Rosamond Gifford Zoo really stands out and it's because of the great team we have. The county is excited to welcome another patas monkey."

      Want to know more about patas monkeys? Here's some information from zoo officials:

      Patas monkeys are members of the Guenon family, a diverse group of African monkeys found from the rainforest of Western Africa through the savannahs of Kenya. With their slender bodies and long limbs, patas monkeys are better physically suited for a life on the ground rather than up in the trees. They are one of the fastest primates, capable of reaching speeds upwards of 30 mph. Patas are recognized by a black brow ridge and nose, as well as by a distinctive white area surrounding their mouths that resembles a mustache.

      In the wild, breeding typically occurs in the summer, which is the wet season, while births occur in the dry winter months. After an average gestation length of 167 days, the female gives birth to a single offspring. The nursing period extends for approximately six months.