Twycross Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of an endangered bonobo! In the early hours of Wednesday 20th February 2013, 23 year old Banya gave birth to healthy baby boy after an eight and a half month pregnancy.
As the only zoo in the UK to care for and breed bonobos, this latest little arrival is a very special birth for Twycross. Whilst keepers and animal managers were aware Banya was pregnant, the birth came as a bit of surprise to everyone!
Dr. Charlotte Macdonald, Curator of Living Collections, said: “We knew Banya was due to give birth soon, but on the evening of the 19th she showed no signs of impending labour. So when we arrived on the morning of the 20th the keepers were surprised but delighted to see that we had a new addition to the group!
“Both mum and baby are doing very well. Banya is quite relaxed with the baby and seems confident in her mothering skills, and this has given her keepers an opportunity to get a close look at the baby and confirm that it is a boy.”
The six week old newborn is Banya’s first baby boy, following three girls born over the past decade at Twycross Zoo.
“Banya is an integral part of our bonobo group and this applies to her son as well. The other bonobos are interested in him but at this point only Banya will carry him. He will remain in close proximity to his mum for the new few years.”
Bonobos are humans closest living relative sharing an incredible 99.6% of our DNA. Their survival in the wild is severely threatened due to poaching for bushmeat, human encroachment and habitat degradation.
Sharon Redrobe, Zoological Director, added: “As the only Zoo in the UK to care for bonobos, each birth is incredibly important for the on-going conservation of the species. Experts now predict great apes will become extinct in the wild in less than 20 years’ time, making our latest arrival an incredibly important contribution towards the European breeding programme of this endangered ape.”
Banya and her newborn are on show to the public within the bonobo house. Twycross Zoo’s troop of bonobos also includes three year old playful duo, Winton and Malaika, and 15-month old Lopori.