A new chimpanzee baby has been discovered cradled in its mother’s arms at Taronga Zoo. Mother Shiba gave birth to the healthy infant over the weekend.
Primate supervisor, Lou Grossfeldt said, “Shiba has shown her calmness and great experience since the birth, cradling and shielding the infant, so much so that keepers haven’t been able to confirm the baby’s sex yet.”
The baby joins sister Sembe and her two brothers, Shabani and Samaki in the chimpanzee troop.
At 33 Shiba is one of the eldest chimps residing in Taronga’s group. Her skills as an experienced baby have meant that the baby is healthy and active. Grossfeldt said, “The youngster is quite vocal when not dozing in its mother’s arms and appears very healthy.”
The young infant can be seen in the exhibit but it will take a keen eyed visitor to see the hands, head or feet of the infant poking out from Shiba’s embrace. Over the coming days the young chimp will become more adventurous.
The chimpanzee is increasingly becoming a threatened species due to habitat loss as well as hunting for their meat and the illegal pet trade.
Grossfeldt explained how this birth would add to conservation efforts, “The birth is great news for our chimpanzee group, and adds to our conservation efforts that increasingly operate here and in the wild.”
Humans are closely related to chimps as we share 98.5% of our DNA with them.
Taronga Zoo works to fund conservation activities in Africa. Currently they work with the Jane Goodall foundations Tchimpounga Rehabilitation Centre. This sanctuary in the Congo rescues chimps that were in the pet trade or were rescued from poachers.
By buying sustainably sourced timber or recycling your old mobile phones you can help to conserve chimp habitat. More information on conserving chimps can be found at www.taronga.org.au .
The baby will be named once keepers work out what his personality is like.
Photo Credit: Taronga Zoo/ Lisa Ridley