In the last news bulletin we already wrote about the genetic research on all chimpanzees within the European breeding program. The research has not been finalized yet, but there is more clarity about to which subspecies each animal belongs. The results of this research have led to adjustments within our collection of chimpanzees. As a result we welcomed three new chimpanzee females at Royal Burgers' Zoo on November 18, 2015!
Móni from Veszprém Zoo
An entirely new chapter in her life will start for the 26-year old chimpanzee female Móni. Móni was born in the Hungarian Zoo Veszprém and raised with a bottle. However, some time ago this zoo also took in chimpanzees from Stichting AAP, and Móni was not able to get along with these animals. This resulted in her being away from her own species for a long time already. Not a very desirable situation of course! Her move therefore became a dire necessity even though Móni, as hybrid, definitely is not eligible as a new breeding female for our group. Biologists and primate caregivers could only hope that the social skills of this female were still good despite her temporary solitary existence.
Erika and Marlene from Givskud Zoo
The Danish Givskud Zoo wants to stop housing chimpanzees. For that reason they were looking for a place for their animals via the EEP. Through EEP the 40-year old Marlene and her 23-year old daughter ended up being sent to Burgers' Zoo. Normally, in the wild, chimpanzee females do not stay in their birth group after puberty. Still the relationship between this mother and daughter is very close. Marlene is a purebred Western chimpanzee, Erika is a hybrid.
The process of adding new members to an existing group is called 'an introduction' in Zoo terms. For some animal species introductions are generally quick and smooth; however not with chimpanzees. The process requires a lot of knowledge and patience from biologists and caregivers alike and also part luck. The EEP has two chimpanzee experts available to give recommendations on the introduction steps from a distance. It is clear therefore that, after the move, there is much more to it than just unloading the crate with the animals and opening the sliding doors to our chimpanzee quarters! For that reason visitors usually are unable to see the three new chimpanzees at the time of this writing and possible also not even at the time of the publication of this ZieZoo. In separation quarters behind the scenes we are still working hard on the introduction! The first steps - an introduction between Móni and our Morami, a granddaughter of the famous chimpanzee Mama, high in rank and very social - went very well indeed. Still, many more steps will have to follow before the three newcomers can form one group with our 14 chimpanzees. We will definitely keep you informed.