In about a month, DJ and Kibibi will be introduced to Incas, the adult male who grew up with Cratey.
Zoo Director Steve Burns said the new monkeys will be kept in a room next to Incas. A mesh wall will separate Incas from the sisters, but they’ll be able to see, hear, smell and even touch each other.
“After a couple weeks, if we think everything’s going well, we’ll put them together,” Burns said.
Zoo veterinarian Holly Peters said the new primates appear to be in good health. She said they ate immediately after arriving at the zoo. The fact that they’re sisters will ease their transition to new surroundings and a new acquaintance, she said.
“It’s got to be comforting having another one that they already know,” Peters said. “I think that will help when they go to meet Incas.”
Cratey’s death became international news in November. Police say Michael Watkins, 22, jumped a fence at the zoo and clubbed the monkey with a tree branch. Watkins is charged with felony burglary and grand theft. He’s being held in the Ada County Jail on $150,000 bond and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Jan. 10.
After Cratey died, zoo staff worried they wouldn’t be able to find another companion for Incas and would have to send him to another zoo.
Early this month, Zoo Boise announced that the Rosamund Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, N.Y., had donated DJ and Kibibi to keep Incas company. Burns said DJ is reaching the age of sexual maturity and could breed with Incas.
Meanwhile, Friends of Zoo Boise, the zoo’s fund-raising organization, pledged to raise $209,000 for a new, 1,000-square-foot indoor Patas exhibit. So far, the fund-raising group has raised about $75,000, Burns said. In a best-case scenario, the exhibit could be finished in August, he said.
Depending on the weather, the monkeys would alternate between the indoor area and an outdoor enclosure that will be expanded after the zoo demolishes its existing Primate House in a few years.
The Friends group also paid to transport DJ and Kibibi from New York to Boise.
Sven Berg: 377-6275