Two female patas monkeys arrive at Zoo Boise

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by Karen Zatkulak

NWCN.com

Posted on December 20, 2012 at 4:50 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 24 at 1:49 PM

BOISE -- Zoo Boise now has two new patas monkeys. The young sisters will soon join the lone patas monkey there. You may remember another monkey was killed last month, and today Zoo Boise officials say there's finally excitement after the recent tragedy.

DJ and Kibibi are both less than two years old. They are sisters who had been in a family group exhibit at a zoo in Syracuse, New York. On Wednesday, they traveled on a Delta flight, arriving in Boise around 11 p.m.

The two sisters seem calm and content with their new northwestern home. Both 15-month-old Kibibi and 23-month-old DJ weigh about 6 pounds each. They are much smaller than the male patas monkey.

For now, they're kept under close watch in the animal health complex.

All visitors must take extra precautions to see the new monkeys in the animal health complex. Everyone has to wear a mask, wear gloves, and step onto a wet mat before entering.

Zoo officials want to keep the new additions healthy. They say they're trying to protect them from any stress or illness.

Zoo Boise veterinarian Holly Peters says, "We are looking for any sign of stress or illness that we can address while they are in quarantine and we don't spread anything to the rest of our collection as well."

But after about 30 days, they'll move to the primate exhibit. After living close by for a few weeks, they will finally meet Incus face to face.

Incus is the other patas monkey left alone last month. Executive Director Steve Burns says, "So we first had to worry about Incus, we did that, we had to worry about his long term future, we did that and now we want to worry about our new family of patas monkeys."

It was more than a month ago when Incus's mate was beaten to death. Authorities say Michael Watkins broke into the zoo and killed the monkey, devastating both zoo officials and the Boise community.

The tragedy also left the lone patas monkey in danger, since it's hard for the animal to live alone. Burns says, "The outpouring of support was tremendous, everyone was concerned about the monkey and what the next steps were going to be."

But fortunately, DJ and Kibibi were at a perfect, mature age to transfer.

Zoo Boise now hopes the patas monkeys won't just get along, but will grow the exhibit even more. Peters says, "It was really exciting for us, of course we want to have Incus have some friends here, but it's also good for patas monkeys and we hope they eventually breed, and have some little ones."

Zoo Boise says you will be able to meet the new monkeys near the end of January.

They are also now raising money build a new primate exhibit that will hold up to six monkeys.

Michael Watkins is charged with burglary and grand theft. He's due back in court on Jan. 10.

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