Baby Bonobo Born at the Memphis Zoo

And baby makes three! The Memphis Zoo is pleased to announce the third bonobo baby born at this facility in as many years.   

The baby, whose sex is not yet known, was born at 5 p.m. on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. It is the first child of “Gilda.” The baby’s father is the late “Mofana,” who passed away in 2014. Mofana was also the father of two young bonobos in the collection, “Mobali” and “Mpingo.”   

Photo courtesy of Lisa Duren Photography

“Any birth is exciting, but we’re especially ecstatic about this addition because it will be so much fun for Memphis to watch the three youngsters grow up together over the next several years,” said Courtney Janney, Curator of Large Mammals.   

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 this baby, as well as Mobali, who is two, and Mpingo, who will turn one in the next month.  

Photo courtesy of Lisa Duren Photography

“For a first time mother, Gilda’s maternal instinct has been impeccable,” Janney said.   

Zoo visitors are invited to attend a baby name and gender reveal on Baby Day, Saturday, May 9. The presentation will be at 11 a.m. at the bonobo exhibit.   

 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.   -more-   Gilda was born at the Milwaukee County Zoological Gardens in February 2006. Staff at both the Milwaukee Zoo and the Memphis Zoo felt that Gilda would be a great mother, based on the behavior with younger members of her former bonobo group. 

Gilda arrived at the Memphis Zoo in December 2013. 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. 

Posted by Zoo Info at 3:01 PM