Photos by Zoos SA Geoff Brooks
If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, pop Monarto Zoo on your list, because there’s a new addition at the popular South Aussie destination, which we’re ALL ABOUT.
First-time chimpanzee mum Hannah gave birth to her healthy baby girl at about 10pm on Tuesday February 19.
Over the past few weeks, keepers have been maintaining a close watch over the 25-year-old as her pregnancy continued to develop through its third trimester.
Now that the baby has arrived, both keepers and veterinarians are pleased to see she appears to be happy and healthy with mum.
Monarto Zoo Senior Primate Keeper Laura Hanley said the new arrival was a welcomed treat for the troop and keeping team alike.
“We are absolutely over the moon to have this beautiful baby girl born into our chimptroop,” Laura said.
“On Tuesday morning, Hannah began showing signs of labour and we are pleased that the birth seems to have been as smooth a process for her as possible.
“Hannah is doing a great job as a first time mum, the little one is holding on safely to her so we will leave the pair to bond privately and watch from afar.
“The rest of the chimps appear very curious about the new baby, and Hannah is allowing them to have a look but not touch which is normal behaviour.
“It’s extremely enriching for great apes to have infants, and having a range of ages among the troop adds to the overall positive well-being.”
The baby will cling tightly to Hannah for the first three to four months of life, spending time feeding and sleeping.
As the little one gains strength and confidence it will begin to explore the environment, with mum taking care of it for the first five years of life.
The arrival of the newborn girl marks an important milestone in chimpanzee conservation.
“While this birth is exciting for Monarto Zoo, it’s also a vital achievement for chimpconservation and the wider Australasian breeding program,” Laura said.
“Over the past 20 years, it’s thought wild chimp populations have decreased by about 90 per cent and as a result they are listed as an endangered species, which is why captive breeding programs are so important.
“Hannah only arrived from Taronga Zoo last March and settled in very well with the rest of the troop, we were thrilled when she fell pregnant.
“As she is originally from Europe, her baby has added genetic diversity to the Australian captive chimp population that we didn’t previously have – a big win for the future of this beautiful species!”
While Hannah adjusts to motherhood, she has access to all areas of the chimpfacility and may be off display at times.
Monarto Zoo is home to an amazing troop of now 11 ambassador chimpanzees. This intelligent species is our closest living relative sharing approximately 98.7 per cent of our DNA.
As a conservation charity, Zoos SA works to help save chimps from extinction through involvement in international breeding programs and by supporting Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary.
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