Arrival of newest Rocky Zoo member just weeks away
The countdown is on for the arrival of the newest member of the chimpanzee troop at Rockhampton Zoo.
Samantha, a 37-year-old chimpanzee, is expected to give birth within a matter of weeks, with an official due date of April 18.
Councillor for Parks and Public Spaces, Cherie Rutherford, said zoo staff were keeping an extra close eye on the mother-to-be and that she could well give birth any time from now.
“It’s safe to say that as Samantha’s baby bump has grown, so too has the excitement,” Cr Rutherford said.
“It has been so special to see Samantha over the last few months and watch her change and grow, and I know many are gearing up now for news of the baby being born.”
Cr Rutherford said the team was choosing to remain cautiously optimistic following Samantha’s tragic first pregnancy.
She gave birth in November 2019 but the baby was stillborn.
Alon, the alpha male, is the father of the baby. He is father to each of the chimp babies including Capri, born in February 2018 to mother Leakey, and Gandali, born in February last year to mother Holly.
Primate keeper Blair Chapman said the keepers were monitoring the infant’s positioning and movement throughout the day.
Samantha had already started to slow down and her activity levels had significantly reduced.
Mr Chapman said that when the expecting mother wasn’t resting, she could often be found eating or interacting with primate Holly and youngest member of the troop, Gandali.
“Appetite-wise, she is certainly trying to eat for two,” he said.
“We have spotted her spending a lot more time with Holly and Gandali and she quite often babysits while Holly has a quick snooze.”
Chimpanzees carry for 237 days.
The chimpanzee family, along with all animals of the zoo, can be visited between 10am and 4pm each day. Entry to the zoo is free.