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Baby Bonobo Born at the Memphis Zoo

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. 


Posted by Zoo Info at 9:43 AM

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