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Baby chimpanzee expected at Hamilton Zoo

Zoo News - Posted 27 January 2016

Hamilton Zoo's chimpanzee troop will soon have a new member, with female chimp Sanda expecting a baby. Sanda, 30 years old, is set to give birth in mid-February. The baby chimpanzee's father is Luka, 22 years old.

Hamilton Zoo Director Stephen Standley says it's a very 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 says. "We've kept a close eye on Sanda over the last 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 father Luka has displayed behaviour toward Sanda which suggests he knows the little one 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, in 2004, from Auckland Zoo.

Hamilton Zoo has five chimpanzees in its troop.

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