John Ball Zoo welcomes the birth of new furry friend

Baby monkey born at the zoo

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Staff at John Ball Zoo were surprised to discover that they had a new addition to the family on Monday.

According to a news release from the zoo, Helen, a white-faced saki monkey, had given birth to a new baby monkey on Monday. Although Helen and her male counterpart, Yaki, were recommended to breed by their particular Species Survival Plan (SSP), officials at the John Ball Zoo were not optimistic they would breed again based on their ages

Helen is 25 years old, and Yaki is 24. According to the zoo, a white-faced saki monkey's life expectancy is between 10 and 20 years of age, however some have been known to live into their thirties. 

Helen and Yaki have already raised three other babies at the zoo. Those animals live at other zoos participating in the SSP program. 

The new baby was seen clinging tightly to Helen and is bright and alert, the zoo says. There is no word yet on the sex of the baby until after it's first veterinary exam in a few months. 

For more information about white-faced saki monkeys, their survival plan and the John Ball Zoo in general, visit www.jbzoo.org.

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April Stevens is a multi-platform producer at WZZM 13. Have a news tip? Email news@wzzm13.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter.

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