Hamilton Zoo chimpanzee having a baby

Hamilton Zoo chimpanzee Sanda is having a baby next month. Photo: Tara Sutherland
Hamilton Zoo chimpanzee Sanda is having a baby next month. Photo: Tara Sutherland

Hamilton Zoo's chimpanzee troop will soon have a new member, with female chimp Sanda expecting a baby.

Thirty-year-old Sanda will give birth in mid-February. The baby chimpanzee's father is 22-year-old Luka.

Hamilton Zoo director Stephen Standley said it's a positive development for the zoo's chimpanzee troop, and the wider conservation programme for the species.

"We've been hoping for a chimpanzee pregnancy for a while, and confirmation Sanda is carrying a baby is really exciting," Mr Standley said.

Sanda arrived at Hamilton Zoo from Adelaide Zoo in November 2008. Photo / Tara Sutherland
Sanda arrived at Hamilton Zoo from Adelaide Zoo in November 2008. Photo / Tara Sutherland

"We've kept a close eye on Sanda over the past few months. The team has been able to conduct an ultrasound on her, and the pregnancy appears to be progressing very well."

Mr Standley says Luka has displayed behaviour towards Sanda which suggests he knows the baby is coming.

"He's been doting on her, which is what you might expect from an expectant father."

Mr Standley says although Sanda is being closely monitored, human contact will be as limited as possible. Zoo staff are keen to allow nature to take its course, and let Sanda and the other chimpanzees respond to the infant in line with their natural instincts.

An announcement on the birth will be made once Sanda has had a chance to bond with her baby and it has been assimilated into the troop.

Sanda arrived at Hamilton Zoo from Adelaide Zoo in November 2008, while Luka arrived four years earlier from Auckland Zoo.

Hamilton Zoo has five chimpanzees in its troop.

- NZ Herald

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