Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love is in the air at Zoo Boise

Just in time for Valentine's Day, two female patas monkeys have been introduced successfully to their male companion and are now on exhibit in Zoo Boise's Primate House. 

DJ and Kibibi, the two "girls" who came to Boise in December, have been released from quarantine and introduced to Incus, the zoo's male patas monkey. 

Initially, "the girls" were given half of the exhibit and Incus the other.  There was a mesh door separating them so they could see, hear, smell and even touch each other for about a week.  When the Zoo Staff felt that the monkeys had acclimated to each other, the door was opened and the monkeys were free to mingle.

"We are happy that the introduction of the monkeys went well.  They seem very comfortable with each other.  The older of the two girls is just reaching breeding age.  What happens from here is up to them," says Steve Burns, Director of Zoo Boise.

Incus, DJ and Kibibi will live in the Primate House until the Conservation Cruise opens in May and they move to their outdoor exhibit.  Construction plans have begun for the new 1,500-square-foot Patas Monkey Exhibit which will be located in the African Plains exhibit near the giraffe barn. The structure will have indoor and outdoor living space and three large viewing windows for the public. The new exhibit was generously funded by private donations and the City of Boise in response to the tragic death of a patas monkey at the zoo in November.  The new exhibit is expected to be complete early this fall.

Just a short distance from the patas monkeys, love has finally blossomed for the zoo's two snow leopards.   In the wild, snow leopards live alone, except during a mating season early in the year and when the females are raising cubs.  Tashi and Kabita were introduced early in 2012, but without any success as Tashi was not interested in his new partner.  Zoo Boise began introductions again this year, and staff was beginning to fear a repeat of last year.  That was until Monday, when Tashi had a change of heart.  For the last four days, the two snow leopards have been inseparable and can be seen in their exhibit sitting close together and nuzzling. 

Tashi and Kabita have been paired up as part of the Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP).  The SSP is one of the Association of Zoos and Aquarium's many conservation programs.  Its primary role is to serve as a breeding program for selected endangered or threatened species - a special animal dating service, if you will.  The goal is to maintain a healthy and genetically diverse population for these animals in order to increase their numbers and be able to reintroduce certain zoo-bred animals into their natural habitats, if necessary.

Located at Julia Davis Park, Zoo Boise is operated by Boise Parks & Recreation in partnership with the Friends of Zoo Boise. Home to 300 animals, Zoo Boise is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. To learn more, see or call (208) 384-4125.