Denver Zoo oldest animal celebrates milestone birthday

Bailey is a hooded capuchin and five-time mother who got to enjoy her favorite fruit on her big day.

DENVER — Denver Zoo is home to more than 3,600 animals, and the very oldest primate of them all just celebrated a milestone birthday.

Bailey turned 40 years old, and the zoo’s staff couldn’t let the moment pass without some fanfare. Bailey, who was born March 15, 1982, is a five-time mother and the matriarch of the zoo’s family of hooded capuchins.

Hooded capuchins live about 25 years in the wild and up to 40 years in human care, according to the zoo.

Zoo staff and volunteers celebrated in style at Monkey Island with Bailey’s favorite fruit, lemons, and a frozen cake made from lemon-flavored sugar-free Kool-Aid and beet juice.

Capuchins are the most intelligent New World monkeys, possibly as intelligent as chimpanzees, according to Denver Zoo. They grow to about 12 to 22 inches long, with a 15- to 22-inch-long tail, and weigh about 6 to 8 pounds.

Bailey is mother to Lynne, Joanie, Mitzie, Susan and Kerry, who also live at Denver Zoo. In all, the zoo has 13 hooded capuchins, who live near the train and carousel and travel to Monkey Island using an underground passage.

The zoo’s hooded capuchins are all female except for one, Cuzco.

Bailey is by far the oldest of the group. The next oldest is her daughter Kerry, who was born in 1987.

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