Baby chimpanzee born at Monarto Zoo

Monarto Zoo is celebrating the arrival of its youngest resident – a baby chimpanzee.

The little girl was born around 10pm on Tuesday to 25-year-old first-time mum Hannah, who was born in Europe and spent time at Sydney's Taronga Zoo before moving to Monarto last March.

Zoo vets reported the bub was happy and healthy, and senior primate keeper Laura Hanley said the birth and early days had gone smoothly.

"Hannah is doing a great job as a first time mum," she said.

"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 wellbeing."

The baby is expected to cling tightly to her mother, feeding and sleeping, until she is three to four months old.

The pair will have free range of the chimpanzee enclosure, and may not be visible to the public at all times during the first stage of the baby's life.

As she gains strength and confidence she will begin to explore the environment before gaining her independence at the age of five.

Ms Hanley said she was over the moon about more than just the cuteness factor.

"While this birth is exciting for Monarto Zoo, it's also a vital achievement for chimp conservation and the wider Australasian breeding program," she 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. 

"We were thrilled when (Hannah) 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."

Monarto Zoo is now home to 11 chimpanzees.

The species is more closely related to humans than any other, and shares about 98.8 per cent of our DNA.

They are native to central Africa but endangered in the wild.

Comments