Monarto Zoo is celebrating the birthof a baby chimpanzee – the first in its 29-year history.
The baby was born to Zombi, a 19-year-oldfemale, early on Tuesday morning.
It will remain unnamed for now, as itsgender is yet to be determined.
Acting senior primate keeper LauraHanley said zoo staff were happy with thebaby’s progress.
“Bubs is holding on, clinging, the rightway up, has eye movement and so on,”she said.
“Health-wise we couldn’t ask for morefor both mum and bubs.”
During the critical first few days of theinfant’s life, Zombi was introduced to severalbreastfeeding women in the hopethey would give her the right idea.
“The first few days and weeks are reallyquite critical for us,” Ms Hanley said.
“As with all new breastfeeding mothers,it takes a while to coordinate everything.”
The other chimpanzees have all takena healthy interest in the new arrival.
“All four of our girls were picked frombig family groups to ensure this sort ofsuccess for us,” she said.
“We’re going to be a breeding groupand hopefully we’ll have many infants tocome, so it’s important they see that.”
The baby’s father will not be identifieduntil DNA tests are done at a later date.
“The alpha male usually gets premiumaccess to the female when they’re inseason,” Ms Hanley said.
“We only have two candidates becausethe other two in the group are vasectomised.”
As well as being the first chimpanzeeborn at Monarto, the baby is the firstborn in South Australia in more than 20years.
“For visitors to come and see her, ifthey feel a hundredth of what I feel,they’ve definitely felt something incredible,”Ms Hanley said.
Chimpanzees are endangered in thewild and their populations havedecreased by around 90 per cent in thepast 20 years due to habitatdestruction,poaching and the pet trade.
Zombi, one of the chimpanzees at Monarto Zoo, carries around her new baby – the first to be born at the facility.
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