Japanese Macaques born at Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, Iowa - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Japanese Macaques born at Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, Iowa


The Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, Iowa announced Tuesday the birth of two female Japanese macaques.

The female monkeys, named Anika and Jubei Jo were born on June 5 & 16. In addition, another baby Japanese macaque, Nikko, born on June 5 came to Blank Park Zoo from the Buffalo Zoo.

“They are absolutely adorable,” said Mark Vukovich, CEO of Blank Park Zoo.

Officials said all three macaques are being hand-raised. This is a big commitment for keepers because the babies must be bottle fed every couple of hours until they are weaned at about six months of age. After that, they will be introduced to the rest of the troop. The decision to transfer Nikko to Blank Park Zoo came because he was abandoned by his mother and Blank Park Zoo keepers have previously successfully hand-raised a baby macaque.

“Our goal is for the mothers to raise their own young,” said Kevin Drees, director of animal care and conservation. “Because of the lack of maternal instinct we had to intervene for the infants’ welfare.”

Because the babies will not be seen on exhibit, zoo officials are setting up a webcam at www.blankparkzoo.com. Viewers will be able to see the macaque grow for several weeks.

In the wild baby macaques cling to their moms, so they were given several teddy bears to ‘hug.’

The last Japanese macaque, Miya, was born at Blank Park Zoo in 2012, and can be seen on exhibit daily.

“Miya is at a fun age for zoo visitors to watch because of her juvenile antics,” said Vukovich.

Information about Japanese Macaques


They range from the subtropical lowlands to the subalpine regions of Japan.

Diet in the Wild:

Leaves, grain, fruit, insects, tree buds, shoots, and mice

Diet at the Zoo:

Monkey biscuits, oranges, sunflower seeds, and raisins. Free browsing


The average body mass for an adult male Japanese macaque is around 25 pounds and they measure from 19 to 24 inches. The fur color varies from brown to white. There is no hair on the face and it becomes red during adulthood. This species has a relatively short tail.


Japanese macaques are tree dwelling (arboreal) and active during the day (diurnal.) They are social animals and live in troops comprising of both males and females. Hierarchy in the troop is based on the matriline amongst females and strength amongst males. Macaques are intelligent and may use tools to obtain food. In the cold winter months, they will bask in the sun and soak in natural hot springs. This species has cheek pouches to carry food in while it forages.


When the female is ready to mate, her perineum swells and becomes redden. Gestation period is between 170 to 180 days. Single births occur, and breeding time is usually from November to January.


Japanese macaques are threatened due to deforestation and the loss of their habitat. As human development invade the territories of these macaques, human and macaque encounters increase, and about 5000 macaques are captured or shot each year (despite protection from the Japanese government) for they are considered agricultural pests.

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