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Two new female Patas monkeys bound for Boise Zoo, to join survivor

Boise's city zoo will welcome two new female Patas monkeys within the next few seeks, the city announced today; they'll join the zoo's sole surviving Patas monkey, a male, who was left on his own after his cagemate was killed in a bizarre break-in at the zoo Nov. 17. The zoo is planning a new 1,500-square-foot exhibit for the monkeys, with indoor and outdoor living space and three large viewing windows for the public.

“As Boise has done so many times in the past, we are going to turn a tragedy into a positive new beginning,” said Mayor Dave Bieter, “and prove that no single event can dampen our spirit or discourage us from believing in Boise as a truly wonderful place to live.” The Friends of Zoo Boise, a volunteer group, has pledged to raise $209,000 for the new exhibit.

Prosecutors say 22-year-old Michael Jacob Watkins broke into the zoo to steal the monkey, and that he beat it to death with a tree branch after the monkey bit him. The Weiser resident is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Dec. 5. Click below for the full announcement from the city.
  


Monday, December 03, 2012

Zoo Boise welcomes two female monkeys; volunteers to raise money for new Patas monkey exhibit

New friends are on the way for a patas monkey left unharmed in a tragic incident at Zoo Boise. The male monkey will be joined soon by two female patas monkeys from the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York.

The Friends of Zoo Boise (FoZB) has pledged to raise $209,000 for a specially built Patas Monkey Exhibit, which will be home to the three monkeys. FoZB is a volunteer organization founded in 1961 to support the zoo.

Since Nov. 17, the City has mourned the death of another patas monkey killed in an early-morning break-in at Zoo Boise. In an unprecedented outpouring of support, the zoo has received hundreds of letters, poems and messages from animal lovers across the country.

“As Boise has done so many times in the past, we are going to turn a tragedy into a positive new beginning and prove that no single event can dampen our spirit or discourage us from believing in Boise as a truly wonderful place to live,” said Mayor David H. Bieter.

Patas monkeys are ground-dwelling animals from the plains of Africa. At 2 ½ feet, they typically weigh 35 pounds.

The two females - 15 and 22 months - are expected to arrive within the next few weeks, depending on weather. The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is providing the monkeys at no cost; the Friends of Zoo Boise will pay transportation expenses. After a 30-day quarantine, the females will be placed in an enclosure within sight of the male. After determining that they are compatible, all three monkeys will live together in the Primate House until the new exhibit is complete.

The new 1,500-square-foot Patas Monkey Exhibit will be located in the African Plains exhibit near the giraffe barn. The structure will have indoor and outdoor living space and three large viewing windows for the public.

“The new Patas House will provide us with an opportunity to educate children and adults in our community about these amazing animals,” said Lisa Owens, FOZB president. Donors can make contributions online at www.zooboise.org or by calling (208) 384-4125, ext. 202. If fundraising goes as planned, the new exhibit will open in late summer of 2013.

As part of its conservation mission, Zoo Boise will contribute ten percent of project costs to the Wildlife Conservation Society for the preservation of patas monkey habitat in Yankari National Park in Africa, which is also home to elephants, lions and hundreds of other species.

Long-term capital improvement plans at Zoo Boise include demolition of the Primate House, which was built in 1967. “We are currently planning an exciting new series of exhibits. We will tear down some of the older exhibits and replace them with more modern zoo exhibits that are better for both the animals and our visitors” said Zoo Boise director Steve Burns.


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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