ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – The Saint Louis Zoo has welcomed a new chimpanzee!
Utamu gave birth to a yet-to-be named female around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday at Jungle of the Apes.
The zoo’s primate care team and veterinarians report the baby is healthy and appears to be clinging to mom well.
“We are hopeful that everything will continue to go well for both mom and baby. The next couple of months are critical,” said Helen Boostrom, Zoological Manager of Primates, Saint Louis Zoo. “Our highly skilled, experienced primate care team has built strong, trusting relationships with the chimpanzees, which are integral to providing the high level of care and training involved in preparing Utamu for birth and rearing her infant.”
Both mother and baby will be closely monitored in the coming days and weeks. They will remain in a private maternity area to allow them to continue strengthen their bond before being debuted to the public.
Utamu and her mother Rosebud came to St. Louis from Miami in 2007. The 18-year-old Utamu gave birth to her first baby in September 2019, which was stillborn or died shortly after birth.
“The loss of the baby was incredibly sad for all of us,” said Heidi Hellmuth, Curator of Primates, Saint Louis Zoo. “Utamu showed a lot of positive behaviors during her pregnancy. Additionally, she was mother-raised by Rosebud, and that experience, along with Rosebud’s presence as an experienced ‘grandma,’ are hopeful signs that she’ll know how to care for her newborn this year.”
Kijana, a 28-year-old male who arrived at the Saint Louis Zoo in 2018, is the presumed father, but because there are other males in the troop a blood test will be done when the baby is older to determine paternity.
“Kijana and Utamu bonded from the moment they met and were instant allies and are often seen playing or grooming together,” said Helen Boostrom, Zoological Manager of Primates, Saint Louis Zoo.
Click here for a look back at Utamu’s pregnancy