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Zoo Mourns Colobus Monkey

February 11, 2022

SIOUX FALLS:  

It is with great sadness that the team at the Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History (GPZ) announces the death of Mahale, the colobus monkey. She turned 21 on January 31.   

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“Today, the team at the GPZ mourns the loss of Mahale together as we share stories about her life,” said Matt Eschenbrenner, Director of Animal Care & Conservation. “We were privileged to have her here in Sioux Falls, as she brought joy into our lives along with countless smiles on the faces of the guests who visited her. I would like to thank the professional caretakers here for their dedication to the animals that we love.” 

The GPZ team will remember Mahale as an amazing mother. She came to GPZ in 2018, along with her daughter Cameroon. In 2021, she gave birth to her son, Bikoro, with her partner, Gonzo. Ever the tolerant mother, she would let Bikoro bounce and climb all over her. He would sit on her head or swing from her tail. Zookeepers who worked closely with Mahale say she was the glue that held her troop together.

Mahale loved potatoes and sitting by the warm air vent. She soaked her biscuits with water, so they were mushy and then loved any toy the mash was in or on. She and her colobus monkey friends enjoyed a huge “gingerbread house” made from biscuit mash this past holiday season – along with a big cardboard gingerbread house.

In recent months, Mahale’s mobility was limited due to back issues, and she had been receiving pain medication. However, her death was not anticipated by her care team. Monkey species like colobus are good at hiding signs of illness, as they would been seen as weakness in the wild.

The GPZ Veterinary team performed a necropsy and are awaiting a pathologist’s report before determining an official cause of death.

For more information on GPZ, visit GreatZoo.org.

  • 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 F.
  • 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.
  • 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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