Royal Oak — A female chimpanzee was born shortly after midnight at the Detroit Zoo on Saturday — on World Chimpanzee Day, official say. 

The baby chimpanzee was born into the Detroit Zoo's Great Apes of Harambee and was named Jane in honor of chimpanzee advocate Dr. Jane Goodall. 

World Chimpanzee Day recognizes July 14, 1960, the day Goodall, an English primatologist and anthropologist, first traveled to what is now Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania to study the social interactions of wild chimpanzees.

“For nearly six decades, Dr. Jane Goodall has been a passionate advocate for chimpanzees, and we are honored to name this little one after her on the auspicious occasion of the first World Chimpanzee Day,” Scott Carter, chief life sciences officer for the Detroit Zoological Society said in a news release. “We cannot think of a better way to recognize Dr. Goodall’s important work and bring awareness to the conservation of chimpanzees in the wild and their well-being in human care.”

Jane, who weighs about four pounds, is the second baby born to Abby, 35, who gave birth to Chiana, 24, at the Detroit Zoo, according to a statement from the Zoo.

Jane is the fourth in 10 years for father, Imara, 22.  Imara's children are daughters Zuhura, 4, Akira, 6, and son Ajua, 9. 

Animal care staff report that mother and baby are doing well and bonding behind the scenes at the chimpanzees’ habitat, Zoo officials said. 

“Even though it has been 24 years since the birth of Abby’s daughter, Chiana, mom clearly has not lost her excellent parenting skills,” Carter said.

The staff estimate the baby Jane will be visible to Detroit Zoo visitors at the Great Apes of Harambee within a couple of weeks. The 4-acre indoor-outdoor habitat is home to 11 chimpanzees and three western lowland gorillas.

Chimpanzees are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to habitat loss, disease, fragmented populations and illegal wildlife trafficking. Officials say Jane's birth is a result of a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan.


Read or Share this story: