MEMPHIS, TENN. – For the second time in as many years,
the Memphis Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of a baby bonobo. As an endangered animal in the wild, these
births are helping to preserve the population of this species.
“Mpingo,” (EM-pingo) a baby boy, was born to parents
“Lily” and “Mofana” at 7:30 a.m., Monday, April 28, 2014. Mpingos are a type of
African tree, also known as African blackwoods. They are sometimes referred to
as “the tree that makes music,” as its wood is used to make music instruments.
“This is a very significant birth,” Matt Thompson,
Director of Animal Programs, said. “He definitely lives up to his name. He
certainly brings harmony and joy to the group.”
Mother and baby are both on exhibit with other members of
the bonobo group, or troop. As a matriarchal society, other females in the
troop will help raise baby Mpingo, along with his half-brother, “Mobali,” who
was born in May 2013.
“Mother and baby are doing well,” Thompson said. “The
group has really embraced the newcomer.”
About the Memphis Zoo’s Bonobos
The Memphis Zoo is home to a group of seven bonobos. All
of the bonobos can be found at the bonobo exhibit across from the Hippo
exhibit. The Memphis Zoo has kept bonobos in the collection since 2003.
Lily, the mother, came to the Memphis Zoo via the
Jacksonville Zoo in March 2012. Mo, the father, was born at the Wilhelma Zoo in
Stuttgart, Germany. He arrived at the Memphis Zoo in 2003.
Bonobos are classified as endangered by the International
Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). They are rare in the wild and
captivity. There are estimates that place the wild population between
20,000-50,000, although this number is highly disputed. According to the
Zoological Society of Milwaukee, as of July 2009, there were only 84 bonobos
living in 10 zoological institutions in the United States and Mexico. According
to the European Endangered Species Program, there are 90 bonobos living in 10
zoological facilities across Europe.
About the Memphis Zoo
The Memphis Zoo, located in Memphis, Tenn., is home to
more than 3,500 animals representing over 500 different species. Recently named
as one of the top zoos in the country by TripAdvisor® and USA Today, the
Memphis Zoo has completed over $93 million in renovation and expansion since
the early 1990s. The Zoo's animal inhabitants reside in one-of-a-kind
exhibitry, such as Once Upon A Farm, Commercial Appeal Cat Country, Primate
Canyon, Animals of the Night, Northwest Passage, Teton Trek and CHINA - home to
giant pandas YaYa and Le Le. The Zoo was founded in 1906 and resides on 70
acres in the middle of Overton Park. The Memphis Zoo is an accredited member of
the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Memphis Zoo, YaYa and Le Le are
trademarks of the Memphis Zoo.