Two new faces have joined the Santa Barbara Zoo’s furry, feathered, finned family: Penelope and Calabaza, white-faced saki monkeys.
They are the first of their kind at the zoo.
Three-year-old Calabaza traveled to his new home from Zoo Miami, where he lived with his parents and 1-year-old sister. But he’s ready to start a family with Penelope, a 2-year-old monkey from Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas.
The Species Survival Plan, managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, played matchmaker and paired these two together.
Zookeepers are helping the monkeys get comfortable in their new home.
“Penelope has settled in well and while she’s still a bit shy, she has been opening up and starting to show her personality more and more,” said Kristen Wieners, zoological manager and training facilitator at the Santa Barbara Zoo.
“Calabaza is very curious about everything and anything in his surroundings, and is also quite the talker when he gets excited,” she said. “We are in the process of introducing the two to each other, and so far things are going well.”
White-face sakis get their name from the males’ white faces that contrast with their black hair. The females, though, strut a salt-and-pepper look.
White-faced sakis can also be identified by their loud calls that monogamous couples sing to establish their territory.
When the zoo reopens, visitors can observe Penelope and Calabaza in the primate exhibit with the golden lion tamarins, an endangered species also native to South American rainforests.
For more information, go to sbzoo.org.