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Black and White Colobus MonkeyColobus guereza

Colobus Monkeys are strictly leaf-eaters.  Like cows, they have a multi-chambered stomach that allows them to digest large amounts of vegetation.  Colobus Monkeys always have a belly full of food that’s in the process of being digested.  

The name “colobus” comes from the Greek word for “mutilated,” because unlike other monkeys, Colobus Monkeys do not have thumbs.

At one time, Colobus Monkeys were hunted excessively for their beautiful coat.  Their skin has been used to make dance costumes, hats and capes. Today, the greatest threat to their survival comes from deforestation.

Animal Class
Mammal
Diet
Herbivore
Status in Wild
Stable

Siamang GibbonSymphalangus syndactylus

Siamang Gibbons are apes, not monkeys. One way to distinguish apes from monkeys is that apes do not have tails.

Siamang Gibbon couple “Bull” and “Salem” announce their territory and reaffirm their commitment to each other with daily duets.  Siamang Gibbons are known for their calls, and paired males and females create their own unique “song.” It consists of a series of booms and barks, and is amplified by their inflatable throat sacs.  Even the couple’s kids get involved; each one adds their own sound to the call.  

Siamang Gibbons are endangered animals, but important work is going on right here, in Sioux Falls, to save this species. The Great Plains Zoo is home to highly-rated breeding pair “Bull” and “Salem”. The couple has welcomed three boys into their family since 2008. Not only were these exciting births for our Zoo, they were important to the survival of the entire Siamang Gibbon population. This species’ numbers have declined by at least 50 percent over the past 40 years due primarily to hunting for the pet trade and continued habitat loss. 

Animal Class
Mammal
Diet
Omnivore
Status in Wild
Endangered

Squirrel MonkeysSaimiri sciureus

Squirrel Monkeys spend most of their lives in trees, and move from tree to tree by leaping. Their bodies produce a musky secretion that is spread throughout their fur and tail. Squirrel Monkeys use the scent to mark territory or leave a trail for others in their troop to follow.  

Since they are so nimble, Squirrel Monkeys make almost no noise as they jump from tree to tree.

Animal Class
Mammal
Diet
Omnivore
Status in Wild
Stable

Ring-Tailed LemursLemur catta

Ring-Tailed Lemurs live in social groups called troops. Females are the bosses in the lemur society. They have first choice of food and mates. The Zoo’s bachelor troop likes to spend their time hanging out and grooming each other.   

Ring-Tailed Lemurs use their long, bushy black and white tails to communicate with each other.

Animal Class
Mammal
Diet
Omnivore
Status in Wild
Vulnerable

Snow MonkeysMacaca fuscata

Social Climbers

Female Snow Monkeys have a rigid social structure with infants inheriting their mother’s rank. They even “perch” in the order of their rank, with the highest ranking animals sitting at the highest spots in the trees, and the others perching below. In larger groups, males tend to pass in and out of the troop, but in smaller groups an alpha male or “chief” may emerge.

What’s That You Say?

Snow Monkeys have a complex communication system, with more than 30 vocalizations and a wide range of facial expressions and body gestures. Recent studies found that they can develop different accents based on where they live, just like us.

The Great Plains Zoo is one of only 14  Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoos to hold Snow Monkeys.  In 2015, the Great Plains Zoo’s Snow Monkey exhibit received the Top Honors in Exhibit Design Award from the AZA.

Animal Class
Mammal
Diet
Omnivore
Status in Wild
Stable

Primates

You might hear the Great Plains Zoo’s Primate residents before you see them thanks to our jumping, hooting array of animals, including Siamang Gibbons, Black and White Colobus Monkeys, and Squirrel Monkeys. The Zoo’s Primate building is also home to a bachelor troop of Ring-tailed Lemurs who spend their time hanging out and grooming each other.

  • Love this zoo! Great place to get a walk in and the animals are everywhere! The museum/indoor part is very educational too. Has a lot of shade for when it's hot out. Very clean. Friendly staff.

    Taylor FSioux Falls
  • We love to visit the zoo. They have great outdoor exhibits and lots to do inside as well. Great for kids and adults.

    Robin A
  • Lots of great exhibits and animals to see! Fun gift shop and learning center.

    Stephanie N
  • A really great zoo featuring some exotic species and I liked the focus on conservancy/breeding to preserve species for the rhinos. The safari area's cheetah was awesome to see. During a week day going, it was quite open to walk around and enjoy without too much crowding.

    Joseph H
  • The museum gives you a break from the sun on hot summer days and has a great selection of animal exhibits from around the world.  The zoo keeps growing and adding new animal habitats or improving existing ones.  Membership offers reciprocal benefits to other zoos around the country.

    Bill T
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