Celebrating with Inge and the gang
Hi everyone! I’m Pam, I am one of the newest members of the small primate portion of the Primate Team. We refer to our team as “SAP” (Small African Primate), although the animal’s in our team’s care are not all African (and one species is not a primate). We care for the animals in the Monkeys of Makokou habitats (drill monkeys, Wolf’s guenons, Angolan colobus monkeys and Schmidt’s guenons), as well as the lemurs, golden lion tamarins and our non-primates, the sloths. I’ve been in Atlanta since April, and I am loving every minute of it. One of the best parts of my job is getting to know each individual animal’s distinct personality. A favorite down in the SAP building is Inge, our oldest drill monkey. She turned 33 on November 10, and the team threw her a “party” fit for the queen she is. The average lifespan for drills is 20 years, though the oldest recorded was 46 years of age. Currently Zoo Atlanta is the only zoo in North America to house these amazing animals, and we have five drills, all offspring or relatives of Inge.
On a normal day all our primates receive enrichment at least once a day. Enrichment is simply something new to change an animal’s environment. It can be something as simple as a new food or scent, or as complex as new habitat furniture or a puzzle feeder, which encourages the animals to manipulate or think about how to retrieve that specific food item. Animal care professionals provide enrichment to stimulate the animals’ natural behaviors at the Zoo. For many of the primates, especially the drills, one behavior we encourage is foraging. Drills in the wild forage on the ground for food and even some small insects. Here at Zoo Atlanta, you can see our group of drills foraging throughout their habitat, moving the mulch around looking for food. Some food items that they may forage for are sunflower seeds, frozen peas, oats, mealworms and diced up veggies.
For special occasions, like Inge turning 33, we like to get creative and celebrate with the animals. Team member Kathryn made Inge a birthday “cake” made of ice treats and berries, and of course a real cake for Inge’s human friends to join in the celebration! It is always fun to celebrate the animals’ milestones, especially when they have surpassed their natural lifespan by over a decade. The “SAP” Team looks forward to providing many more birthday celebrations for the animals in our care!
Keeper II, Primates