Australia's Monarto Zoo welcomed the first Chimpanzee baby to be born at the zoo in its 29-year history. The yet to be named and sexed baby was born in the early hours of Tuesday, August 21, to first-time mother Zombi.
Acting Senior Keeper of Primates, Laura Hanley, said, “It’s extremely enriching for great apes to have infants and it adds to the social wellbeing of the group to have a range of ages amongst the troop. Having an infant in the group also allows Monarto’s other females to learn vital mothering skills.”
The baby will cling tightly to Zombi for the first three to four months of its life, spending its time feeding and sleeping. As the little one starts to gain strength and confidence it will begin to explore its environment with Zombi taking care of it exclusively for the first five years of its life.
Zoos South Australia Head of Life Sciences, Peter Clark, said the birth is not only a wonderful achievement for Monarto Zoo; it’s also an important birth for the regional Chimpanzee breeding program. “This birth represents a first for the region and provides a completely unique set of genetics to the Australasian breeding program,” Peter said.
Females Chimpanzees only give birth every five to six years after an eight and a half month gestation period. Chimpanzees are found in moist and dry forests and savannah woodlands in Equatorial Africa; It’s estimated that wild populations of the endangered Chimpanzee have decreased by approximately 90% in the past 20 years due to habitat destruction and degradation, poaching for the bush meat trade and the pet trade.
Monarto Zoo is the largest open-range zoo in the world, developed over 1,000 hectares of fauna and flora and the only zoological park to be completely power neutral.
Photo Credits: Dave Mattner for Monarto Zoo