Hamilton Zoo’s chimpanzee troop has welcomed an adorable new addition, just 24 hours after their first introduction to their new outdoor enclosure.
Mum Sanda delivered the baby overnight and Zoo Director Dr Baird Fleming said the Zoo team was delighted by the arrival.
“We were so over the moon yesterday with how wonderfully well the chimpanzees reacted to their new space and today we’re celebrating a birth,” said Dr Fleming.
“It’s a really positive sign that Sanda felt so happy, healthy and safe in her new surroundings she was comfortable enough to deliver her baby.”
The chimps have been off display since February while their outdoor enclosure was upgraded.
Dr Fleming said while he knew visitors would be excited to see the chimps again and would be keen to meet the new addition, the priority was to give the troop time to get used to their new space and bond with the baby.
“Animal welfare is always at the forefront of everything we do. The troop needs time together to bond in their new environment and it’s crucial that the other chimpanzees identify and connect with the baby too.”
The Zoo will make an announcement when the chimp enclosure paths and viewing areas are open to the public.
Curator of Exotics Catherine Nichols said the troop was giving Sanda lots of space to bond with her new baby and had “jumped in” to keep big sister Chiku busy.
“Chiku is very inquisitive and has been hanging around Mum on and off to get her attention, but big sister is giving her space to nurse,” said Ms Nichols.
“Grandma Lucy has been keeping an eye on Chiku and Auntie Sally, Uncle Lucifer and Dad Luka have been amazing, playing with her and giving her lots of extra attention.”
The new baby takes the number of chimpanzees at Hamilton Zoo to seven.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature lists chimpanzees as endangered on their Red List of Threatened Species.
Hamilton Zoo supports the Jane Goodall Foundation and its work with chimpanzees. The Foundation is dedicated to protecting chimpanzees and conserving critical habitat while strengthening surrounding communities and empowering the next generation of conservation leaders.