Baby chimp rejected by birth mother gets matched with a surrogate
A baby chimp that was rejected by her birth mother has been matched with a promising surrogate candidate. Keeva, who is roughly 2 months old, was recently transferred from the Baltimore area zoo where she was born to the Florida home of her intended new mom.
Personnel at the Maryland Zoo said that the decision to separate the infant from her birth mother was a tough one, but it quickly became apparent that the new mom wasn't up to the task.
She showed little interest in the offspring, and wasn't making any attempts to nurse her.
The zoo staff took over the responsibility of rearing the chimp and embarked upon a search for a long-term, species-appropriate caretaker.
The most promising option they found was Abby, a 32-year-old chimpanzee who lives at Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa.
She's been a successful surrogate in the past, and it's anticipated she'll come through again.
Keeva and Abby have yet to physically interact, as the process of inserting new chimps into existing social circles is tricky. While Keeva is separate, the rest of the chimps can observe the little one. "From the first moment they laid eyes on her, our chimps have been keenly interested in baby Keeva," Angela Belcher, the primate animal care manager at the Tampa zoo, explained in a press release.
Personnel in Tampa say they'll start making introductions once Keeva is 5 or 6 months old.
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