Rockhampton Zoo is counting down the days to welcome the chimpanzee troop’s newest addition.
37-year-old chimpanzee, Samantha 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 are 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 noted the team are choosing to remain cautiously optimistic following Samantha’s tragic first pregnancy.
“Samantha gave birth to her first baby in November 2019 – though heartbreakingly, the baby was stillborn.”
“It was devastating and while we must always stay wary in these kinds of situations, we are hoping all is going to be well this time round.”
Primate Keeper, Blair Chapman said the keepers are monitoring the infant’s positioning and movement throughout the day.
“Our team are closely monitoring Samantha and are eagerly awaiting the infant’s arrival,” Mr Chapman said.
“Samantha has already started to slow down and her activity levels have significantly reduced – we find her snoozing a lot more than usual and her baby bump is very visible.”
He said when the expecting mother isn’t resting, she can 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.”
“She is still interacting with the group like normal however her tolerance for Capri’s antics is non-existent.
“Capri is now three years old and can be quite busy and it appears Samantha isn’t as enthused at the moment.
“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, or about eight-and-a-half months.
Alon, the alpha male, is the father of the baby. He is father to each of the chimp babies who include Capri – born in February 2018 to mother Leakey, and Gandali – born in February last year to mother Holly.
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.
The Rockhampton Zoo is owned and operated by Rockhampton Regional Council.