Zoo News

Zoo News


Dallas Zoo welcomes new chimpanzee baby
Feb 14, 2014

Valentine’s Day seems the perfect time to announce the newest adorable addition to the Dallas Zoo: a chimpanzee baby born Jan. 26, the second for mother Ramona.

“We have a healthy, vibrant troop of chimpanzees that continues to grow here at the Dallas Zoo,” said Keith Zdrojewski, mammal curator. “And Ramona is taking exceptionally good care of the new baby, as she did with Kona in 2009.”

The baby won’t be named until its sex can be determined. It appears to be healthy, but the zoo’s veterinary team will wait until mom and baby have more time to bond before they administer routine health exams. For the next two to three years, the baby will be completely dependent on its mother for care. Starting today, guests may see Ramona carrying the baby in the Kimberly-Clark Chimpanzee Forest (weather permitting) until it begins to start moving about on its own. Zoo staff and volunteers will observe the troop daily to ensure the baby is nursing and meeting appropriate development milestones.

Zookeepers and veterinarians closely followed Ramona, 26, during her 32-week gestation, even administering regular ultrasound exams. Thanks to training from her keepers designed to allow for less stressful medical exams, Ramona sat calmly for the tests, encouraged by grape juice and peanuts.

“This new addition is a great success for the troop and our zoo,” said Lynn Kramer, D.V.M., vice president of animal operations and welfare at the Dallas Zoo. “Kona has been an integral part of the troop, as this new baby will be. Ramona is a strong, vibrant chimp, and she’s proven to be an excellent mother and a key member of our chimpanzee social structure.”

Strong chimpanzee troops consist of a complex, social environment that includes animals of all ages. The Dallas Zoo’s large, stable troop consists of four males and four females, in addition to newborn. Their ages range up to the oldest, BonBon, who is in her mid 50s.

“This newborn will start its life with older brother Kona, who is now 4 years old,” Zdrojewski said. Kona has been a guest favorite since his birth, swinging from trees, rolling down hills and demanding attention from his elders.

The zoo’s Kimberly-Clark Chimpanzee Forest is a 19,000-square-foot habitat that features a waterfall and stream, climbing structures, trees, rocks and more than 40 kinds of edible plants. The chimpanzees have an additional 3,000 square feet of indoor, off-exhibit living space with common rooms, bedrooms and drinking fountains. Viewing is available from three perspectives: the Monorail Safari ride; an open area where chimpanzees and visitors are separated only by a deep moat; and a glass-paneled area that allows face-to-face observation.

 

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