It has been a busy year so far for our group of chimpanzees and we are always excited to see how the infants grow and develop into an integral part of the group.
Fumo is the oldest of the three infants (19 months) and he is most definitely an adventurous character. He spends a lot of his day moving from one chimpanzee to the next, usually to play with them (even if they don’t want to). Failing that, he is very happy to tumble around the exhibit by himself, something that all infant chimpanzees love to do!
Not to be outdone, Sudi is our 9 month old infant and is starting to show positive signs of development as the days go by. He can usually be seen riding on his mum’s back (Shiba), which is a great way for infant chimpanzees to be exposed to the world and interact with their environment.
Lastly, who could forget the youngest of our chimpanzee community, little Liwali. At 8 months old, he is becoming more social and has recently begun to ride on his mum’s back (Lisa) as well. Just like Sudi, this is a great sign and a step in the right direction for him to start exploring the world.
Probably the most exciting of all is seeing all 3 infants begin to play with one another. Fumo is a very friendly and playful chimpanzee, who is usually the instigator and will start wrestling with the other 2 infants at any given opportunity. Not only is this a great way for all 3 infants to develop their motor skills and to build strength but it to also form a bond with one another that they will carry into adulthood.
One of our younger males Sule has become a big fan of the infants (in particular Fumo) and loves to play with them if given the chance by their mothers. Sudi and Liwali still have a few months to go until they are big enough to play with him but Fumo and Sule can usually be seen together. Sule also likes to carry Fumo around on his back and has been seen taking him away when a few of the adult males fight, which is often a daily occurrence in any chimpanzee community.
By Ben McDonogh, Primate Keeper