Rare orange Francois Langur monkey 'Pierre' born at Lincoln Park Zoo

July 30, 2013 (CHICAGO)

The Helen Brach Primate House at Lincoln Park Zoo should be celebrating with baby blue for a new baby boy. But instead, at the Francois Langur monkey exhibit, the color of joy is orange: an orange baby from black-haired parents.

"The little baby was born on July 11th and we've actually identified that's it's a male and we went ahead and came up with a name for it. His name is Pierre," said Maureen Leahy, curator of primates, Lincoln Park Zoo.

Pierre's birth is important because in the wild these small monkeys are disappearing. There are only about 1,000 left along the border of China and Vietnam. In North American zoos there are only 66-- make that 67.

While ABC7 was here shooting this story something very interesting happened. Suddenly little Pierre is transferred from mom to sister to aunt. What's going on here?

"Francois Langurs actually exhibit a pretty unique behavior. A social behavior called 'aunting behavior.' The adult females in the group and the older sister, if you will, will help carry the infant when mom needs a break," said Leahy.

Three times while we watched Pierre went from the safety of mom's arms to other arms. And this brings us back to the unusual orange color which lasts only a few months. Apparently in those thick southeast Asian forests, the orange is easy to see.

"When the other females in the group want to carry the infant, mom needs to visually keep track of it it's a pretty clear sign that a bright orange baby is pretty easy to follow," said Leahy.

It's like musical monkeys as Pierre goes from hand to hand. But don't worry Mom, he'll be back when he's hungry.

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