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Zoo’s new baby monkey will change from white to black

The Chicago Zoological Society is happy announce birth an Angolan colobus monkey Brookfield Zoo March 9. This is first birth

The Chicago Zoological Society is happy to announce the birth of an Angolan colobus monkey at Brookfield Zoo on March 9. This is the first birth of this species of colobus born at the zoo. Both mom and her baby may be seen daily in the zoo’s Tropic World/Africa exhibit. The baby's white head can be seen tucked above her mothers tummy on Wednesday, March 20, 2013. | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times

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Updated: March 20, 2013 5:57PM

It’s not magic, but it may look like it.

The monkey born March 9 at the Brookfield Zoo will turn from white to black in just six months.

Angolan colobus monkeys are born completely white and gradually change color as they grow. Their white hair turns to gray at three months. At six months, they’ll reach the final black and white coloration and look like miniature adults, said Craig Demipros, Brookfield Zoo’s associate curator of primates.

The unnamed newborn — whose gender hasn’t been determined — is the zoo’s first birth of this particular species.

Demipros said the baby’s gender isn’t known yet because mom’s holding it close.

“Mom’s very protective of it right now,” he said. “But we’re more concerned that it’s a healthy baby and that mom’s taking care of it.”

Once the gender is known the zoo will reveal its name.

A unique characteristic of the species is its tendency to allo-parent, or engage in “aunting behavior.” This means other female group members help take care of the newborn and carry the baby until it needs to nurse or the mom wants it back.

As a first-time parent, however, Demipros said the baby’s mother hasn’t been doing much sharing.

“We’ve only seen its grandma have it for very brief, a few seconds. I think as the infant gets older, though, it’ll be passed around,” he said.

The infant joins its mom, Olivia, 5, and three other adults of its kind in the zoo’s Tropic World/Africa exhibit.

The group includes Olivia’s mom, Tina, 17; sister, Chaka, 4, and the baby’s father, Sasha, 12.

The monkeys came to Brookfield in August 2012 from Ohio’s Columbus Zoo.

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