KNOXVILLE, Tenn — Zoo Knoxville is celebrating World Chimpanzee Day with the best kind of announcement--- a baby is on the way!
Jambo, a 14-year-old member of the zoo’s chimpanzee troop, is pregnant with her first baby. She is expected to give birth in late December or early January.
She came to the zoo from the Maryland Zoo in 2018 on a breeding recommendation from the Chimpanzee Species Survival Plan to save chimps from extinction.
Because two of the zoo's male chimps, Ripley and Jimbo, have showed breeding behavior with Jambo, a DNA test will be done to determine who fathered the baby.
As part of her prenatal care, zoo staff are training Jambo to allow ultrasound imaging to monitor the health of the baby.
Jambo’s pregnancy was confirmed with a positive test on May 17, and the gestation period for chimpanzees is 8 months.
“Our team has an excellent care and birthing plan in place,” said Lisa New, President and CEO of Zoo Knoxville. “We are making sure Jambo has the best prenatal care for a healthy pregnancy and are excited to plan for the arrival of Knoxville’s first chimpanzee baby in 13 years. I think we all could use some happy news to start off 2021.”
The last chimp to be born at Zoo Knoxville was Georgie in 2008. Zoo visitors loved watching the highly active and entertaining chimp grow up. He left the zoo last year to hopefully go off and start a family of his own.
Chimpanzees are highly endangered, with as few as 350,000 wild chimpanzees living in their native range in Africa. Their wild populations are decreasing due to habitat loss, disease, and wildlife trafficking.