By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Oliver the famous monkey welcomed a new baby into the world this week, but zoo officials don’t yet know its gender.
The tiny capuchin was born sometime late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning at the Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo. It’s the third child of Oliver and his mate Patty, who share an enclosure at the west Tupelo zoo.
Opie, age 2, and Gizmo, nearly 1, came first. Both are boys.
Park owner Dan Franklin said Wednesday he hopes the new baby is a girl. But his wife said she’s not betting on it.
“We found it this morning,” said Sheila Franklin. “We’re pretty sure it’s a boy, but we’re not 100 percent sure.”
Park officials haven’t yet handled the baby, which they estimate weighs about 5 ounces. Instead, they’re letting it bond with its mother, who carries it around on her belly.
After the primate sees a veterinarian and has its gender determined, the park will hold a naming contest. Details of the contest will be posted on the zoo’s Web site and Facebook page.
It was nearly three years ago that Oliver made international headlines by escaping – twice – from the zoo and running amok through west Tupelo.
While on the lam, the white-faced capuchin monkey wandered around the Tupelo Country Club and raided residents’ vegetable gardens for food. His adventure was an instant phenomenon, inspiring Web sites, T-shirts, anonymous rewards, and a David Letterman Top 10 list.
Although Oliver’s older sons live with the Franklins, the youngest is expected to remain at the park with its parents.
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or firstname.lastname@example.org.