Philadelphia Zoo | Primates I Know

Philadelphia Zoo Primates

Here's some pictures of the fantastic array of primates (prosimian, monkey and ape) that I get to hang out with on a daily basis in my job as an animal keeper at the Philadelphia Zoo (ok, there are a couple non-primates, too). The initial group of photos were taken in July '04, some of the rest were taken in February of 2002 (all by me), and a few of the other ones were taken by other zoo staff/curatorial types semi-recently.

Our three male western lowland gorillas were all moved to South Carolina in July of 2004 and were replaced by a family group of four from St. Louis. I took a bunch of photos of the boys before they left - this is the best of them all, Chaka at his most spectacular. He was just about 20 years old. I took all of the gorilla & orang/gibbon pictures from the keeper overlook in their yard exhibits, which offers some fantastic, barrier-free views.

Here's Kimya, as taken from directly overhead, from the balcony. He was eating some eggplant, I said "pssst" and he peeked up at me and I snapped the photo. I absolutely love this picture.

Kimya again, from a normal angle. Still looking pretty solid. Kimya is around 10 years old at the time.

Mike was a little more stand-offish towards the camera and this was as close as he would get, and I had to zoom in all the way. He's about 12 years old.

Mango, our previous male sumatran orangutan, loved to hide in things. Boxes work really well. They work even better up in a tree.

Like this. Mango was 12 years old here.

Not quite 12 years old, Tua was Mango's female counterpart. She's still here and still a handful. She used to beat the crap out of Mango but now she's hanging out with her new beau, Sugi.

Our white-handed gibbon pair, Mercury and Solstice. It sure looks like he's feeding her as she reclines, but I assure you he wouldn't feed her anything willingly. She just likes to lounge.

We had twin ringtailed lemurs born just before I took these pictures - here's one up close, riding on mom's back. Peekaboo!

Here are both of them... sadly, we lost one the following month (named Ronald). It had an intestinal gas problem or something. The other one was fine, a spazz named Reagan. They were born on the same day Ronald Reagan died. This family group (a mom & daughter and a male who is unrelated to both and breeds with both) replaced our group of 3 bachelors, pictured below. The mom in this picture is Logan.

Mongoose lemurs, like Joshua here, are some of the friendliest primates you'll ever meet, for some reason. I don't know why, but every single one of them has no problem hopping onto your shoulder for a treat. Trips me out, so I have 'em hop on there every chance I get. Right on.

This is an amazing shot of Mona, our adult female white-faced saki monkey, and her new baby (a boy) from February 2007. He was born just before the new year. Photo by an unknown member of the zoo's camera club.

Here's another shot from February '07, of our new golden lion tamarin baby ("Morgan" - of unknown gender) by someone from the zoo's graphics department, I think. Lovely press photo.

Here are some older pictures...

(L) Tua is the resident cut-up. She's still a kid in this shot, at only 9 years old. She also happens to be the half-sister of the male orang I worked with at Ft. Wayne, Tengku.

(R) Chaka, weighing in at a skinny 400 lbs. He's got a bit of a lazy eye, but you wouldn't want to fuck with him. Born in July 1984, he's a spritely 18 years old in this photo. Photo donated by unknown zoo visitor (friggin' good pic, eh?).

These amazingly great photos of our old boy Mango were taken by Rich Killion and are illegally being used without permission. Enjoy 'em while you can, kids. He was only around 9 years old in the photos.

Fore to background: Mike (10), Kimya (8) and Demba (31), the other three gorillas (two boys and a girl) of the group of four that were here '99-'04. On the right, Kimya does his thing with a water jug, trying to get the goods out. Photos were taken around 2001. Demba finally moved out of here by herself in late 2006 after trying to get integrated with our new group.

This is Melaka, a juvenile female spectacled langur, around age 4 in the photo. She's got a big family, with her aunt and four other brothers and sisters (RIP mom Eva, dad Nasty & sister Daun). This fantastic picture was sent to the zoo by a visitor named Mr. Henderson.

On the left is Kamba and on the right is his big brother Kiazi, both black and white colobus monkeys in our former troop of 5 (including mom and dad and little sister Tamu). Kamba is about 3 and Kiazi almost 4 in these shots, and they couldn't be more different... can you tell from the photos? Kamba is still smallish and cute and non-violently playful, while Kiazi is huge and a bad-ass. He loves to pull hair and ears, grab arms and he'd jump on your back if given the chance. I've got two of his fingernails tatooed on my forearm. He thinks he's just playing with you, which is the problem in the first place. Colobus are the shit, though. Unfortunately, they moved out of the primate building to the south end of the zoo to live with the baboons, and I miss 'em. Also, Kiazi is no longer with us, because he shredded his dad - he's living in California now with some hot monkey women of his own.

Here's the odd couple... Solstice & Mercury. She's way laid back and doesn't take no fuss, and he's all over the place and loves to mix it up with the orangutans in their shared exhibit. He follows her around like a puppy dog, though (and apparently he loves to get in my face, eh?)

These guys rock, and they're white-faced saki monkeys from South America. Mom is in the middle, dad is on the right and that's one-year old Bonnie on the left. This also was taken about 10 days before Bonnie's little brother Clyde was born. They're hilarious and loads of fun, and all bark (and hair!) and no bite. Clyde is a couple years old now, and he's huge! Bonnie was a little nuts but she moved to the Bronx. They have another daughter named Meadow and a new baby, pictured above.

Here's a couple of cuties... new moms Coco on the left (with her friend Hazel [RIP] peeking in the bottom left corner) and Meg on the right, from our large colony of common squirrel monkeys. Currently we have something like 12 monkeys (2 newborns) with more on the way. We had three born within a month of each other in fall '03, two of which I got to name.

This is Pistachio, whose mom Hazel died about 3 days after she was born. She was hand-raised by the Vet staff and reintroduced to the group early on by keepers and vet techs. She's about 6 months old in the pics which were taken in May 2003 - when we all thought she was a he. Yes, a hand-raised animal by veterinarians that were wrong about the sex. We figured out he was a she when her dad (yes, sadly) starting having sex with her.

(L) Here's mother and son Isabeau and Qui Tu (here just months old), both douc langurs. He's a real turd now and about 5 years old. Don't they just look freaky as hell? Their dad passed on in spring 2004. RIP, Cau.

(R) This is Lucy, an adult red-capped mangabey, chowing on some browse. RIP, Lucy. She died not too long after Cau. Damn.

Golden Lion and Golden Headed Lion tamarins... top and bottom. They're looking for bugs in the "forage bin". Callitrichids at their best. The GLT here (just like the ones I hung out with in Brazil) is a juvenile.

Here's Zaboomafoo himself... well, not really. Same kind of lemur though. He's a 7-year old Coquerel's sifaka - named Gordian, I think. This fucker bit me unprovoked. He doesn't live here anymore and I don't miss him.

Lemurs just the way I like them - all locked up! These three boys (ringtailed lemurs) peed on a zoo visitor so they had to get put away. Actually, they had to be crated and moved to their outdoor exhibit, back and forth, EVERY day because some damn douc langurs were in their regular quarters (for 2 1/2 years!). That's a long, long story. They all moved out of our zoo, to different places, in late '03.

I took these pictures of baby ruffed lemurs when they were about two days old in April of 2006. Sweet. One picture was published in the Philadelphia Inquirer!

I also took all these pics of ruffed lemur triplets that were less than one day old at the time of the photos - born in June '03.

I love this photo of Fernando the armadillo (RIP).

Here's a few Rodrigues fruit bats. They're big. Bats are neat.

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