Rockhampton Zoo favourite is expecting a baby
THE Rockhampton Zoo has received an early Christmas present, with the news today that a baby chimp is on the way.
Samantha, the 37-year-old member of the troop, is expected to give birth next April.
Alon, the alpha male, is the father of the baby.
He is father to each of the chimp babies, including Capri who was born in February 2018 to mother Leaky, and Gandali born in February this year to mother Holly.
Rockhampton Regional Council Parks Councillor Cherie Rutherford said it was “incredible news”.
“We are over the moon with the news that Samantha is expecting, and we cannot wait to watch her belly grow over the next four months,” she said.
“While it is incredible news in terms of our growing troop and for chimpanzee conservation overall, we are particularly happy for Samantha given the heartbreaking loss of her baby around this time last year.
“The loss of Samantha’s baby was devastating, so this pregnancy news is so very special for all of the staff and I am sure the entire community.
“We are obviously a little anxious given what happened, but are choosing to be cautiously optimistic.”
Primate keeper Blair Chapman said zoo staff were keeping a close eye on Samantha and were happy with her pregnancy progression.
“Chimpanzees carry for 237 days, or about eight-and-a-half months. Samantha is just over four months into her pregnancy now with a noticeable baby bump - though her belly started to show early on with this pregnancy,” he said.
“She already has quite the appetite and is definitely becoming more demanding with her food.”
There has been plenty of activity at the zoo.
Ash, a baby emu, joined the zoo family last week and a new family of four meerkats from New South Wales arrived last month.