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.”
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.
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.
BIOPARC Valencia welcomed a male Western Chimpanzee in July.
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.
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.”
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.
More beautiful photos, below the fold!
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.
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.
Pumpkins and Jack-o-Lanterns are indicative of the fall season…and Halloween.
Zoo Keepers work hard to keep their animals healthy and happy. Enrichment toys and activities are an important tool that Keepers utilize to help in that pursuit. Enrichment items encourage natural behavior and stimulate the senses…and what could be more stimulating, this time of year, than celebrating by tearing into a bright orange pumpkin!
Happy Halloween from ZooBorns!
Image 1: (Lynx) Tierpark Hellabrunn / Marc Muller
Image 2: “Red Pandas, Jung and Nima, get into the Halloween spirit”/ Chester Zoo
Image 3: (Snow leopard) Woodland Park Zoo
Image 4: (Amur Tiger) Woburn Safari Park
Image 5: Piglets-in-a-pumpkin/ Tierpark Berlin
Image 6: “Andean Bear, Bernie, tucks into honey-coated treats”/ Chester Zoo
Image 7: “Black Jaguar, Goshi, enjoys and early treat”/ Chester Zoo
Images 8, 9: Elephant Pumpkin Stomp/ Denver Zoo
Image 10: (Chimpanzee)/ Detroit Zoo/ Jennie Miller
Image 11: (Bison)/ Detroit Zoo/ Jennie Miller
Image 12: (Giraffe “Mpenzi”)/ Detroit Zoo/ Jennie Miller
Image 13: (Hippo)/ Woodland Park Zoo/ Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren
Image 14: (Tiger)/ Woodland Park Zoo/ Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren
Image 15: (Maned Wolf)/ Woodland Park Zoo/ Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren
More adorable Halloween pics, below the fold!
The Kansas City Zoo is proud to announce the names chosen for their adorable baby Orangutan and baby Chimpanzee, born earlier this year.
On May 23, a male Bornean Orangutan was born at the Zoo. First-time mom Josie has strong motherly instincts and has been taking great care of the little guy since his birth! Keepers say Josie’s mom, Jill, who is also at the KCZoo, taught her everything she knows about being a mom. Orangutan youngsters have long intense relationships with their mothers, so Josie will spend the next several years showing him vital Orangutan skills like how to build nests, where to find food, how to interact with others and how to use tools to forage.
A generous private donor has been given the opportunity and named this youngster “Dusty.” You can see his handsome little face along with Josie, Grandma Jill and Kali at the Zoo’s “Orangutan Canopy”.
A female Chimpanzee, at the Zoo, was born to mom Teeoni on April 1. But just days after her birth, her mother was no longer caring for her. In the best interest of the infant, Zookeepers began the challenging work of hand-raising her, providing her with round the clock care. Keepers are proud to say this three-month-old is now thriving! Always in close contact to the rest of the Chimpanzee troop, keepers are working with other potential surrogate moms for the baby when she is big enough to rejoin the group.
A longtime supporter of the Zoo has chosen a meaningful name for this little girl that symbolizes the hard work and dedication the keeper staff has put forth to raise her in the absence of her mother. She has been named “Ruw” (RUE) which is short for Ruwenzori, the nickname of the Zookeeper team that cares for Kansas City Zoo’s Chimpanzee troop.
The Bornean Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) is a species native to the island of Borneo. Together with the Sumatran Orangutan, it belongs to the only genus of great apes native to Asia. Like the other great apes, Orangutans are highly intelligent, displaying advanced tool use and distinct cultural patterns in the wild.
The Bornean Orangutan is classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, with deforestation, palm oil plantations and hunting posing a serious threat to its continued existence.
Chimpanzees (sometimes called chimps) are one of two exclusively African species of great ape that are currently extant. Native to sub-Saharan Africa, both are currently found in the Congo jungle. Classified in the genus Pan, they were once considered to be one species. However, since 1928, they have been recognized as two distinct species: the Common Chimpanzee (P. troglodytes) live north of the Congo River and the Bonobo (P. paniscus) who live south. In addition, P. troglodytes is divided into four subspecies, while P. paniscus has none. The most obvious differences are that Chimpanzees are somewhat larger, more aggressive and male dominated, while the Bonobos are more gracile, peaceful, and female dominated.
Their hair is typically black or brown. Males and females differ in size and appearance. Both Chimps and Bonobos are some of the most social great apes, with social bonds occurring among individuals in large communities. Fruit is the most important component of a Chimpanzee's diet. They can live over 30 years in both the wild and captivity.
The Kansas City Zoo allows patrons to participate in the care of their animals. Zoo fans can adopt them through the “Adopt A Wild Child Program”. Find out more on the Zoo’s website: http://www.kansascityzoo.org/aawc .
The Albuquerque BioPark Zoo welcomed new twin Chimpanzees on November 4, 2014. The pair have stayed very close to their mother, ‘Elaine’, for the past four months.
Photo Credits: by Ray Watt / ABQ Biopark Zoo
Zoo staff were finally able to determine that both babies are male, and now, the BioPark wants your help in choosing the names of the two baby Chimpanzees, through an online contest. The two names with the most votes will be chosen. The options being presented are:
- Alby (short for Albuquerque)
"It is fairly unique to have chimp twins, but Elaine is an experienced mother and is doing extremely well," said Lynn Tupa, Zoo Manager, "The twins are getting stronger and more active every day. Elaine is teaching them to hang on by walking around and letting them hang on to her without being held."
The ABQ Biopark Zoo was asked to breed their chimps as part of the Species Survival Plan. This plan helps zoos around the country coordinate breeding programs for threatened and endangered species and helps to maintain good genetic diversity.
More great photos, below the fold!
Thirteen Chimps have been born at the Tulsa Zoo in the last 65 years, but that doesn’t make the newest baby any less special. A healthy male infant arrived on November 23 and was welcomed by the entire troop.
Mom Jodi was carefully monitored by zoo keepers during her 32-week pregnancy. Her care included routine ultrasounds to make sure the baby was developing normally.
Chimpanzees live in complex social groups, so the new baby is an important addition to Tulsa’s troop. The troop includes the new infant, his mother Jodi, Morris, Hope, Susie, Bernsen, and Vindi. After the first few months of the baby’s life, which will be spent clinging to Jodi, other members of the troop will participate in the baby’s care.
The birth of this baby was recommended by the Chimpanzee Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is administered by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. The SSP seeks to maintain genetically healthy populations of zoo-managed species, with an emphasis on animals that are endangered in the wild.
Chimpanzees are native to West Africa and Central Africa, where populations are under pressure from poaching and habitat loss. They are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.