Keen observers of Taronga Zoo’s chimpanzee community may notice two chimps, Koko and her daughter Kamili, are currently absent from our Chimpanzee Sanctuary.
The pair are both pregnant and have been temporarily moved to an off exhibit area today to provide them with the space and time to have their babies.
Koko and Kamili are of incredible genetic value to the Australasian regional Chimpanzee population.
Within Taronga’s world renowned Chimpanzee community however, they lack the family support network which is often significant for the successful raising of offspring.
Taronga has long prided itself on endeavouring to exercise best practice husbandry management with our Chimpanzee community.
In keeping with this philosophy, we have taken a bold step with the reproductive management for Koko and Kamili. We are attempting to replicate wild Chimpanzee behaviour in order to provide these females with the best possible avenue for birthing success.
In the wild, lower ranking related females such as Koko and Kamili will often remove themselves from the core interaction areas of a Chimpanzee community when nearing the end of their pregnancy.
After giving birth they will remain distant from the community until mothers and infants are sufficiently strong, healthy and well bonded with each other. Only then will these wild mothers seek to re-establish interaction with other community members.
This will indeed be the case for Koko and Kamili.
After an appropriate mother and infant bonding period they will return to Taronga’s community and be slowly and carefully reintroduced to community members, building up to a total reintegration within Taronga’s thriving Chimpanzee community.
- Senior Primate Keeper, Allan Schmidt