The excitement continues for Taronga’s Primate keepers since the birth of a healthy chimpanzee baby 12 days ago!
After a gestation period of about 243 days, the infant was born to Kuma, who was herself born here 22 years ago. She holds a steady and influential position within the chimpanzee community and is in her prime, having successfully raised 10 year old, Furahi, one of our two adolescent male chimps.
He is beginning to realise what a powerful ape he will one day become, and Kuma's parenting skills have had much to do with his social and physical development.
Kuma has, once again, proven to be the perfect mother so far, suckling her infant, and cradling it in her enormous hands wherever she goes, protecting it from the curious gaze of chimps and keepers alike!
She has been distancing herself from the group, and has controlled visits from other chimps so that her baby gets the rest and protection it needs.
Among these enthusiastic visitors has been Furahi's buddy, Shikamoo, who has shown a surprising interest, and has been very gentle and attentive to both Kuma and her baby.
Also fascinated, and eager to investigate a new potential playmate, have been Taronga's two juvenile male and female chimps, Sule and Sembe.
Neither have seen a newborn chimpanzee before, and Kuma will need to ensure that these two don't overstay their welcome when visiting the little one!
Kamili and Lani are two young females who have also been very aware of the new arrival.
Observing the way in which older, more experienced chimpanzees behave in certain situations is a significant part of healthy cognitive development of young chimpanzees, and they will learn much from the mothering skills that Kuma will display for the next few years.
These first few months will be full of new sights and sounds and smells for Taronga's newest addition, and hanging on tightly to Mum is the first lesson that the little one has already learnt!
It is a time of much excitement when a baby is born into a chimpanzee community, much as it is in human society.
I can guarantee that each of us here on the Primates team are thrilled to welcome into our lives a little black hairy bundle of joy, and the progress of it, as well as the entire soap opera that a chimpanzee community so closely resembles, will be documented here on a regular basis over the coming months.
CHIMP FACT #1
Chimps are not monkeys.
They are in fact, great apes, just like us!
We actaully share over 98% of our DNA, and believe it or not, chimps are more closely related to us than they are to gorillas!
Next time you're watching our chimp families here at Taronga, see if you can see any similarities between us and them...
You might be surprised!