BOISE -- During a private party for the St. Luke's Emergency Department staff, several visitors say they saw a patas monkey give birth in the new exhibit space at Zoo Boise.
The birth was of special interest to visitors becaue last November, a patas monkey was killed. Eventually Michael Watkins was arrested and sentenced to 7 years in prison for that crime.
Visitors say the birth happened just after 6:00 p.m. and say they saw the mother monkey carrying around the new baby in the exhibit.
"She did a great job. She was patting the monkey, stimulating it. It was like holding on to her. It was adorable," Alicia Lee, who took photos and video of the new monkey, said.
Lee is an emergency department nurse. She says she was was excited to see a brand-new baby patas monkey just minutes after it was born, noting that the mother monkey acted in many ways like humans do when they have a new baby.
"She was in the back holding the baby, and the male monkey was in the front. Then she would kind of run around, and she just kept patting him and patting him. He would kind of root around on her fur and kind of grab onto her shoulders and hold on. It was really interesting to see a newborn baby," Lee said.
After a short time, Lee says zoo staff had everyone leave so the new mother monkey wouldn't feel threatened. Lee says she immediately knew she'd seen a special moment because of the patas monkey killed last year, as well as their brand new exhibit being a popular attraction.
"This is huge because of what happened just not so long ago with the other patas monkey. So it was the first time I'd seen them in their new building, and it was pretty exciting to see their new building and see their baby born at the same," Lee said.
Zoo Boise Director Steve Burns told KTVB he is not ready to release information to the public, and something may be available in a couple of days. Traditionally, he says they wait to make announcements because of how fragile the first days of life are.