Curator Report: Japanese Snow Monkeys
Japanese Snow Monkey, Kisho, made the journey to his new home at the Blank Park Zoo of Des Moines on Friday. Kisho has been entertaining visitors at the NEW Zoo since his birth here three years ago. Parents of small boys of the human variety always seemed to be able to relate to the high energy level and trouble making capabilities of this little guy. Ask any staff member or visitor to pick out the naughty monkey - they always point to Kisho!
In Japanese Macaque society, the dominant male rules the troop with the help of a select group of “inner circle” male friends. In exchange for acting as both body guards and enforcers, these buddies of the leader get lots of benefits associated with high social rank. Young males in a troop can either hope to someday work their way up the ranks or they can set off with a few of their best pals to start a new troop (young females usually stay with the family group but occasionally they leave to seek their fortunes also).
Kisho happens to have a genetic makeup that is extremely important to the survival of his species (he is actually ranked as the most genetically valuable male in the captive population!). He also seems to have leadership personality traits. Eventually, Kisho along with his new sidekick will be introduced to a group of females at the Blank Park Zoo. Although Kisho is not yet mature, The Species Survival Program (SSP) for Japanese Macaques hopes that in the next several years, he will assume the leadership position of the troop and help to produce the next generation of Snow monkeys.
Here at the NEW Zoo, the finishing touches are being put on the new Japanese Macaque building and the exhibit yard is about to undergo renovation. New rockwork with a pool and waterfall is scheduled for installation in June. A see-through mesh netting across the front of the exhibit will soon give visitors an even better view of the antics of these always active animals!