The UK’s Only Baby Bonobo Just Turned One…

This time last year, Twycross Zoo celebrated the arrival of a new baby bonobo, the first to be born in the UK since 2019. In 2023, Twycross Zoo is celebrating it’s 60th anniversary and is proud to be the only zoo in the UK home to the bonobo species of great ape, human’s closest living relatives. To highlight the significance of Upendi’s birth, for this endangered species, we’re re-sharing the amazing story…


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Twycross Zoo Announces Arrival Of A New Baby Bonobo, The First To Be Born In The UK Since 2019

Announced ahead of World Bonobo Day (14 February), the new baby is a hugely exciting arrival for Twycross Zoo, the only zoo in the UK to house all four great ape species, including the endangered bonobo.

Born to Cheka (age 25) the baby has been named Upendi, which means love in Swahili.

Twycross Zoo’s in-house veterinary team discovered that Cheka was pregnant during a regular health check, performed when Cheka and the zoo’s family of bonobos moved into an expansive new enclosure in September 2021. Since then, she has been closely monitored by the ape and veterinary team.

The new habitat provided the 13-strong group with more space, as well as improved lighting and heating. It also offers the bonobos more climbing structures for their ongoing enrichment, plus two outdoor areas to explore.

Airplane Is Fun No Matter Your Species

Generations of bonobos playing airplane at Cincinnati Zoo. Amali's grandmother holds her up by her feet while her Mom, Kesi makes sure she is safe.

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First Photos of Baby Bonobo

Bonobo Kuni and Infant 8-6-16
A baby Bonobo born August 6 at the Jacksonville Zoo is an important addition to the Species Survival Plan for these endangered Apes.

Closely related to Chimpanzees, Bonobos are more petite and have black facial skin at birth (Chimpanzees have pink facial skin at birth). 

Bonobos are highly social and the arrival of an infant is an important event for the group.  The male baby, named Budir, will be carried by his mother Kuni for several months.  In zoos and in the wild, Bonobos remain with their mothers for about five years. 

Bonobo Kuni and Infant 2_8-6-16Photo Credits:  Becca Ledesma (top), Lynde Nunn

Like all Great Apes, Bonobos are highly intelligent and are capable of self-recognition in a mirror.  Along with Chimpanzees, they are humans' closest relatives in the animal kingdom.

Native to the deep forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bonobos live in groups of up to 100 individuals and feed on fruit, leaves, honey, and eggs.

As one of only seven zoos in the country to house Bonobos, the Jacksonville Zoo participates in the Bonobo Species Survival Plan to preserve genetic diversity in the zoo-managed population. 

Wild Bonobos are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to habitat loss and encroaching human activity.  The Jacksonville Zoo supports the Bonobo and Congo Biodiversity Initiative, which works to protect Bonobos in the rainforests of central Africa.

Baby Bonobo Born at Twycross Zoo!


Twycross Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of an extremely important baby Bonobo! In the early hours of Friday 6th January 2012, Maringa gave birth to a baby girl weighing in at a very healthy 1.44 kilograms after an eight and a half month pregnancy. 

Charlotte Macdonald, Living Collection Curator, said: "When keepers arrived at the enclosure to find Maringa had given birth, they noticed the baby was strong and alert but not actually on mum. She was being kept warm and safe by another female Bonobo within the group." 

"Maringa has had difficulty raising her young in the past therefore we have been planning for this birth in conjunction with the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) since last summer. Donna Smithson, one of our Bonobo keepers, visited Frankfurt Zoo last year to observe how they trained one of their female bonobos to be a foster mum, in the event that Maringa showed no interest in the newborn." Charlotte said.


Photo credits: Twycross Zoo

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Zurich's Youngest Bonobo Seen Snacking

Last week, veteran photographer and ZooBorns contributor A.J. Haverkamp snapped pictures of Likemba, Zoo Berlin's baby Bonobo. Only defined as a separate species in 1929, Bonobos differ from chimps largely for their more peaceful and easy going social dynamics.


Photo Credits: Arjan Haverkamp

Team ZooBorns is off to Houston today for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' annual conference. We'll be posting from the road and we hope to see some of you in the lonestar state!

Rare Bonobo Baby Born at Colombus Zoo & Aquarium

A baby Bonobo was born at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium monday afternoon as Zoo volunteers and staff who have been conducting around the clock observations since February 17 watched via surveillance camera. This is the eleventh bonobo born at the Columbus Zoo since the Zoo received its first bonobos in 1990 in conjunction with the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for this endangered ape.

Video by Graham Jones

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