BALTIMORE, MD – Thanks to thousands of avid chimpanzee fans, The Maryland Zoo’s newest addition to the chimpanzee troop has been officially named “Maisie” (May-zee).
By the time voting closed at midnight on Thursday, Maisie was the winner in a tight race, with over 9,500 votes cast! Runners-up were Asha, Olivia, Nyota and Tulia. The names in the contest were selected by the Chimpanzee Forest animal care team members, who are caring for the littlest chimp around the clock.
“We’re so happy she officially has a name,” said Pam Carter, Chimpanzee Forest area manager. “Animal care staff use individual names, especially during training sessions. The chimpanzees all recognize their own names as well as each other’s and being able to call her Maisie will help us make the important introductions to the troop when she is ready.”
Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) are classified as endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List. One of the greatest threats to the wild chimpanzees is loss of habitat, the African forest, from commercial logging, agriculture and fires. Poaching and disease also put the wild population at risk.
“Another reason we give recognizable names to animals in our care is that it helps create a unique bond between the animal and our visitors,” said Margaret Rose-Innes, assistant general curator. “We hope that if they learn to care for the individual, they will also care about what we are doing to save that species, which is so important not just for our future generations, but also for the future of Maisie’s wild cousins.”
Maisie arrived at the Zoo in late September and is being cared for by the Chimp Forest Animal Care team who work in three shifts around the clock to provide her constant care. “Maisie drinks baby formula every three hours, sleeps, and has some playtime every day to help strengthen her muscles,” continued Carter. “We also wear a shirt and blanket that have fringe material sewn on that helps her learn to grip.” Maisie can now rollover by herself and she can also pull herself up into a sitting position.