Securing a shared future for wildlife and people

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Photo by Lisa Ridley
Lisa cradles her newborn

There must be something in the water here at Taronga’s Chimpanzee Sanctuary!

Earlier this week, keepers were excited to find that senior female, Lisa, had given birth overnight. As the mother of our alpha male, Lubutu, and adolescent female, Lani, Lisa is well respected within our chimpanzee community and knows exactly what it takes to be a successful mother.

It has already been confirmed that Lisa’s new infant is a boy, which takes the number of males born into the group this past year to three! Boisterous times certainly lie ahead for these three future playmates.

In a chimpanzee community, it is important to have young chimps who are roughly the same age grow up together, the same as our own children spend time playing and learning with friends who are similar in age.

Our three newest boys, Fumo, Sudi and our as-yet-unnamed infant, will spend their early years learning from their mothers and from those around them and will always have that bond which comes with growing up with each other.

Having playmates to entertain their little ones surely will also be appreciated by the mothers, who, like all mothers, do appreciate some peace and quiet.

Shiba’s little one has been named Sudi, which in Swahili means ‘good fortune’, and certainly his arrival has been exactly that. She has been nursing her young male infant perfectly and this has again initiated interest from our adolescent female, Lani.

 As a young female, Lani’s maternal instincts have been invigorated by the arrival of Sudi, and this will no doubt continue with Lisa’s infant.

As she comes of age, Lani has been attracting the interest of our older males and putting into practice the courtship skills she has learnt from the older females in our group.

These next few years are sure to provide much excitement at the Chimpanzee Sanctuary.

- Primate Keeper, Simon Hersee


Chimp Fact #10

Every young chimp has, for the first years of its life, a small white tuft of hair on its rump. This is a visual indicator that it is still immature and must be treated with care by the others.

As the young chimp grows older, this white tuft will disappear and the chimp will begin integrating into the community. While the tuft of hair remains however, the young chimp is able to get away with all kinds of mischief!  Even the older males will need to be tolerant of young chimps climbing all over them and annoying them when they may be trying to get some rest.

Even though the males take no responsibility in raising the young, it’s important for them to be seen as good fathers and protectors, for when it comes time to challenge for an alpha male position; it’s this kind of male who is most likely to get the job.

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