Community & Environment

Visitor favourite Chiku to become a big sister

Mother chimp cradling baby chimp in enclosure

The Hamilton Zoo chimpanzee troop will soon be getting a new addition with four-year-old Chiku’s mother, Sanda, due to give birth in early summer.

Little Chiku is a favourite with Zoo visitors and the new baby chimp is expected to be just as popular.

This will be baby number two for 34-year-old Sanda and 27-year-old dad Luka.

Expected to arrive in early summer, the new baby will take the troop number to seven. An announcement on the birth will be made once Mum and the extended family have had the chance to bond with the baby.

Hamilton Zoo team leader of primates Anuradha Jayasinghe said staff were excited to have another chimpanzee baby on the way after an unsettling year of change.

“Sanda is an amazing mum and the troop adore little Chiku so we can’t wait for this new arrival,” said Mr Jayasinghe.

“The troop are off display while their outdoor enclosure is upgraded, but we have a robust enrichment programme to ensure all of our animals are happy, healthy and safe. Sanda’s successful conception and pregnancy is a testament to the outstanding care of our primate keepers.”

The gestation period for chimps is around eight months. Breeding programmes such as the one at Hamilton Zoo are crucial to the survival of the species. Chimps are endangered in the wild.

“Conservation and the survival of native and exotic wildlife is at the heart of everything we do,” said Mr Jayasinghe.

Hamilton Zoo supports the Jane Goodall Foundation and its work with chimpanzees. The Foundation is dedicated to protecting chimpanzees and conserving critical habitat while strengthening surrounding communities and empowering the next generation of conservation leaders.

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