Beardsley Zoo howler monkey turns 32 on Sunday
BRIDGEPORT — The oldest howler monkey in captivity turns 32 on Sunday.
Zuele, who calls the Beardsley Zoo home, was born on May 27, 1986. At 32, she has well outlived the normal lifespan for howler monkeys, which is between 16 and 20 years.
At noon Sunday, the zoo will give Zuele a cake, made of her favorite fruit treats. And musician Chris Rowlands, who’s playing at the zoo all weekend, will sing her a tune.
Zuele has two companions in the zoo’s Rain Forest Building — Kim, another female, and Cain, a male. But many zoo-goers might remember Zuele for her famous high fives.
The zoo said she shows unusual behavior for her species. Howler monkeys are typically shy and unlikely to interact with humans, but Zuele eats meals close to the glass and offers up her hand in a “high five” to guests who put their hand up on the glass enclosure.
“Zuele is one of the most popular animals in our zoo family,” said Zoo Director Gregg Dancho. “Over the years, dozens of families have taken photos with Zuele reaching out to them, making a connection that is both rare and touching.”
Though, Zuele suffers from arthritis and loss of bone density and muscle mass from her old age, the zoo said she continues to show her sweet nature and fondness for people.
Howler monkeys are the loudest animals on land, with a guttural howl that can travel for three miles through dense forest.