KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Zoo Knoxville said mom and baby are doing well weeks after Binti the chimpanzee welcomed her daughter into the world in late April.
37-year-old Binti gave birth to a healthy baby girl at the zoo last month, which they have named Stevie.
Melissa McGee, the curator of the Great Apes and Mammals exhibit, said it came as a little bit of a surprise for her caretakers because they said she wasn't showing signs of active labor late in April.
"She was just acting a little odd and repositioning herself. She wasn't quite comfortable, and it all happened very quickly from then. Binti popped up and there was a baby!" she said.
The zoo said Binti had some complications with the birth that required medical intervention to address a retained placenta and low iron, but she has since recovered and is doing well after being reintroduced into her troop thanks to her caretakers and the veterinary team from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.
"During that recovery process, while she was still sleepy, we were able to bring her baby and let baby nurse on her to get that initial milk, which is really important for the baby's immune system," Dr. Julie Sheldon with UTVMC said.
The zoo said Stevie is still thriving three weeks later as the Great Apes team cares for the baby around the clock. The baby has been meeting all her milestones and is being slowly introduced to the troop, who see her daily.
"Zoo Knoxville’s goal is to reintroduce her to the troop, beginning with the other females. This will require waiting until Stevie is more mobile in the coming months and training the other females to help care for her," the zoo said.
The zoo said it will let people know when the public can see the new baby in person.