The Miller Park Zoo will soon be home to a pair of monkeys.
Construction is underway on a new De Brazza’s monkey exhibit, expanding the zoo’s collection of African animals.
Zoo Director Jay Tetzloff said the medium-sized primates are buff-colored with a distinctive white beard.
Tetzloff said they’re introducing a male and female in hopes of encouraging reproduction, adding the monkeys are a signifier of Miller Park’s clout in the zoo community.
"The male we’re receiving is the number one male in the population, in terms of genetic value,” Tetzloff said. “That's a big feather in our cap to talk about for us. They trust us with the number one male in the population. So hopefully he can get the job done and produce lots of babies as we go forward."
De Brazza’s monkeys usually only have one baby per year, but on rare occasions can produce twins.
The monkeys will share the new exhibit with a pair of Red-flanked duikers — a small antelope that also is native to western and central Africa.
“The building itself will have four stalls, so it will have lots of flexibility, lots of space for the two species to intermingle as much as they want and stay apart as much as they want,” Tetzloff said.
The exhibit is set to open next spring, as part of the zoo’s 130th anniversary celebration. Tetzloff said the majority of the $600,000 project is being paid for through a state grant.
Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner said the exhibit will help reinforce Miller Park Zoo as a destination spot.
“This is an unbelievable jewel for our community—not just in terms of quality of life, but also for economic development, economic advancement,” Renner said.
The Miller Park Zoological Society also is raising money to build an outdoor educational theater.
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