While we love sharing the fun and amazing milestones baby chimp Maisie has been achieving, it's important to remember that Maisie is being cared for by trained professionals at The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore and chimpanzees are wild animals that do not make good pets.
In September, Maryland Zoo in Baltimore welcomed baby chimpanzee Maisie from the Oklahoma City Zoo after her mother failed to properly care for her. Although they did not hesitate to bring her to The Maryland Zoo, this incredible opportunity is not without its own set of challenges. Caring for an infant chimp comes with significant expenses, including the costs of diapers, formula, and enrichment. Adding to that, Maisie requires 24-hour care, resulting in additional staff expenses.
To help offset some of these costs, Maryland Zoo’s Giving Tuesday (Giving ZooDay!) fundraiser is a baby shower for Maisie for those that would like to help "share the care." The fundraising goal is $50,000. Just today they have unlocked a $10,000 matching gift from a very generous anonymous Zoo supporter and are now over halfway to their goal!
The web address for donations is Marylandzoo.org/babyshower
Utamu (pronounced oo-TAH-moo), an 18-year-old chimpanzee at the SaintLouis Zoo, gave birth to a yet-to-be-named female baby around 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 28, 2020, at Jungle of the Apes.
“We are all very happy to have a new baby in the troop and it is so great to see Utamu become a mother,” said Heidi Hellmuth, Curator of Primates, SaintLouis Zoo.
The baby appears to be healthy and is clinging to mom well, according to the Zoo’s primate care team and veterinarians. The team will watch the mother and infant closely during the coming days and weeks, monitoring for nursing and observing the behavior of Utamu and the baby.
“We are hopeful that everything will continue to go well for both mom and baby. The next couple of months are critical,” said Helen Boostrom, Zoological Manager of Primates, SaintLouis Zoo. “Our highly skilled, experienced primate care team has built strong, trusting relationships with the chimpanzees, which are integral to providing the high level of care and training involved in preparing Utamu for birth and rearing her infant.”
Utamu and her baby will stay in a private maternity area for some time to allow them to continue to strengthen their bond. A public debut date is not known at this time. Zoo guests may see other members of the chimpanzee troop in the outdoor Donn and Marilyn Lipton Fragile Forest habitats, weather permitting.
The birth was the result of a breeding recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Chimpanzee Species Survival Plan, a scientific program to manage a genetically healthy chimpanzee population for this critically endangered species.
The birth of a critically endangered West African Chimpanzee caught visitors by surprise at Chester Zoo.
The new baby was safely delivered, in front of a handful of astonished zoo guests, at around 5pm on July 13. The birth followed a seven-and-a-half-month pregnancy for doting mum, Alice (age 27).
Posting on social media, one onlooker described the birth as “honestly one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen” while another said it was “pretty epic.”
Photo Credits: Chester Zoo
Zoo conservationists say the new baby, a female that is yet to named, is in good health and is spending all of her time bonding with mum and other members of the 21-strong group of Chimpanzees.
Primate experts have hailed the youngster as a ‘vital boost’ to the conservation breeding programme for the species. It follows several years of scientific research, which has carefully assessed the genetics of all Chimpanzees in European zoos, confirming the make-up of the group at Chester as hugely important to the future of the species.
It is estimated that as few as 18,000 West African Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) remain in the wild and it is the first subspecies of Chimpanzee to be added to the list of critically endangered apes.
Mike Jordan, Collections Director at the zoo, said, “This new baby is a significant addition to this multi-generational Chimpanzee group at the zoo - and a vital boost to the conservation breeding programme for the critically endangered species.”
“Alice and her daughter have bonded well and she’s doing a wonderful job of caring for her so far. A new baby always creates lots of excitement and Alice has plenty of support from some of the other experienced mums in the group, who are all keen to lend a helping hand.”
"The youngster provides particular cause for celebration given the plight of chimpanzees in Africa. More Chimpanzees are hunted for the illegal bush meat trade than are born each year, causing populations to plummet in the wild. Couple that with the fact that humans are destroying their habitats and it’s easy to see why these fantastic animals – one of our closest cousins – are being pushed towards extinction. This new arrival is a step towards changing the fortunes for the species,” Jordan concluded.
Conservationists at the zoo have been working in Africa to protect some of the world’s rarest Chimpanzee species for more than 20 years. The expert teams have helped protect one of the last major strongholds of the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee in Gashaka Gumti National park in Nigeria.
Valentine’s Day was extra special at Bioparc Valencia this year when female Chimpanzee Marlin gave birth to twins.
Photo Credit: Bioparc Valencia
The staff had already been on alert for Malin’s approaching due date. Malin is an experienced mother, so the staff was not overly concerned, but they added bedding to the Chimps’ indoor quarters and kept a close eye on Malin.
On February 14, they were surprised to discover that Malin had delivered twins! The sex of the infants is not yet known, but the staff can tell them apart by their ear color: one has dark ears and the other has light ears.
Twins are somewhat rare in Chimpanzees. Most females give birth to just one infant. Despite the extra demand of carrying and nursing two babies, Malin is providing excellent care for her youngsters.
Chimpanzees are native to the forests if western and central Africa. They are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The new baby has been given the name Coco, and mom, Noelia, and dad, Moreno, are caring for him. Although inexperienced, the new parents are doing well and receiving support from other adult females in their group.
Photo Credits: BIOPARC Valencia
Coco was named in honor of a breeding male from a Chimpanzee group that was moved from Viveros Zoo to BIOPARC Valencia in 2008. The original Coco was a rescued circus performer that lived for 27 years, until 2005, in the safety of Viveros. His group was later relocated to BIOPARC, where they remain today. Although there is no genetic link to the new baby and the original “Coco” (they belong to different subspecies), BIOPARC’s commitment remains the same: to the preserve the planet's biodiversity, preserve species at risk of extinction, and also to assist those animals that live amongst us that are not treated as they should by man.
The Western Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus) is a subspecies of the common Chimpanzee. It inhabits western Africa, mainly in Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea.
The IUCN classifies the Western Chimpanzee as “Critically Endangered” on their Red List of Threatened Species. There are an estimated 21,300 to 55,600 individuals in the wild. The primary threat to the species is habitat loss, although it is also killed for the bush meat trade.
A critically endangered Western Chimpanzee has been born at Chester Zoo. Primate experts say the baby, born June 4, is in good health and inseparable from 24-year-old mum, ZeeZee.
ZeeZee was born at Chester Zoo on February 15, 1994. Her new infant marks the first time in almost ten years that the Zoo has welcomed a baby Chimpanzee. The last, Tina, was also born to mum ZeeZee in February 2009.
The birth follows a scientific project, spanning several years, which has carefully assessed the genetics of all Chimpanzees in zoos across Europe. The study has confirmed that the chimps at Chester Zoo are the highly threatened West African subspecies – one of the rarest in the world – establishing the group as a critically important breeding population.
Mike Jordan, Collections Director, said, “The new arrival is particularly important as it contributes to better genetic diversity in the European Western Chimpanzee population. It comes after a five-year-long scientific study of Chimpanzees in zoos across Europe confirmed that the group of chimps at Chester is one of the rarest in the world – making it even more important to conservation breeding than was ever thought.”
“In the wild, the Western Chimpanzee is under huge threat from bush-meat hunting as well as extensive and increasing habitat loss and fragmentation from human activity, so much so that it is the first ever Chimpanzee subspecies to join the list of critically endangered great apes. It makes the group at Chester an important conservation insurance population and the new baby is hugely significant.”
Photo Credits: Chester Zoo
The Western Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus) is found in West Africa where it is patchily distributed from Senegal to Ghana and is already thought to be extinct in Benin, Burkina Faso and Togo.
At Chester Zoo, the new arrival has increased the number of their group to twenty, and zoo primate experts say the baby has excited other chimps in the family.
Tim Rowlands, Curator of Mammals, added, “Mum and baby have bonded positively, and ZeeZee is naturally being incredibly protective of her newborn. She’s a wonderful, experienced mother and has learnt much of her parenting skills from her own mum Mandy, who is also part of the group and always on hand to lend her support.”
“The interactions between the group are incredibly fascinating to watch. A new baby brings a new dynamic and the group is in a real state of excitement – particularly given that they haven’t seen a baby in their group for the best part of a decade.”
Chester Zoo is also actively involved in the conservation of some of the world’s rarest Chimpanzee subspecies in the wild and, for more than 20 years, has supported the last stronghold of another of the rarest Chimpanzee subspecies, the Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzee, in Gashaka Gumti National park in Nigeria.
The Western Chimpanzee is classified as “Critically Endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It is estimated that there could be as few 18,000 remaining in the wild.
A baby Chimpanzee, born on September 27, is seeing the beginnings of collaboration between the University of Neuchâtel and Zoo Basel, researching how apes communicate and learn.
The little Chimpanzee, named Obaye, was born at Zoo Basel and is the son of 24-year-old Kitoko. He is the youngest offshoot of the Zoo’s twelve-strong group of Chimpanzees. At the moment, he is still too small to take part in the study, but Obaye will have an opportunity to participate in the future. Hopefully, the young male will provide valuable information for the researchers.
Photo Credits: Zoo Basel
A group of researchers from the University of Neuchâtel (led by Prof. Klaus Zuberbühler) is interested in how apes absorb and process information and how they solve problems. Scientists call this cognitive research.
The study is conducted by observing how the Chimps approach different situations. A screen is installed in their enclosure and tasks appear on the screen (example: the Chimpanzee must identify a tree from among other objects). If they tap the right solution on the touch screen, they automatically receive a small reward. The next step tests whether their ability to identify the image changes if it is accompanied by a sound recording. The researchers gradually set increasingly complex tasks, and their long-term objective is to study how apes communicate and how this affects learning and memory.
However, to help the Chimpanzees learn how to work the screen, the first task is a simple one: the screen lights up green and the Chimpanzee touches it for a reward.
The Chimpanzees have access to the screen for two hours every working day, and then they have the weekends ‘free’, although this is more to do with the researchers’ workload than that of the Chimpanzees. All members of the group who enjoy completing the task are able to do so, whilst those who are not interested can simply ignore the screen. Whilst some of Zoo Basel’s Chimpanzees eagerly collected their rewards, twelve-year-old Colebe was only interested in completing the tasks and chose to leave the food rewards behind. Newborn Obaye’s mother, Kitoko, has not shown any interest in the screen, as she is currently busy with her little one.
The Gorilla and Orangutan enclosures at Zoo Basel will also soon be fitted with screens to allow a comparison of cognitive abilities in the three primate species. The researchers have been trained by Basel’s zoo keepers to allow them to work near the apes, and they are also helping with everyday animal care: it is not just the apes but also the zoo keepers who are being set new tasks as a result of the university collaboration, so assistance with everyday work is welcome.
The collaboration with the University of Neuchâtel is still in its infancy, but the project is designed to last for several years and should help to study the cognitive abilities of the apes.