L.A. Zoo Expands Chimpanzee Troop with Three Youngsters
CONTACT: April Spurlock
May 29, 2013
Over the past ten months, the L.A. Zoo has had three baby chimpanzees born. The first named Zuri was born to mother Regina on July 23, 2012. On March 8, 2013, Yoshi gave birth to Uki and finally on April 22, 2013, Gracie gave birth to a yet, unnamed infant. All three youngsters are females.
The birth of Uki represents an important milestone in the chimpanzee’s troop as she is a fourth generation birth within our troop. Uki’s mom, Yoshi, was born at the Zoo on July 2, 1990, her mother Regina was born at the Zoo on October 23, 1983 and finally her mother Pandora was born at the Zoo on March 5, 1967, less than a year after the Los Angeles Zoo opened. Pandora is one of the Zoo’s oldest residents and as the matriarch of the chimpanzee family has seen the chimp’s zoo environment change from barred cages, to a concrete grotto to the opening of Chimpanzees of Mahale Mountains in 1998.
All three youngsters are being raised with their mothers on exhibit and in the company of the rest of the adult females. The infants are slowly being introduced to the rest of the troop. Shaun, an adult male, was specifically chosen as the first male for these infants to be introduced to as he has shown patience with past youngsters. Growing up with adult males is a natural part of life. The role of the male is to protect the troop and in some cases settle differences between female chimpanzees.
The L.A. Zoo houses a total of 17 chimps in a complex troop within Chimpanzees of Mahale Mountains. The animals are managed in a fission/fusion manner, similar to how chimpanzees live in the wild where the troop splits off into sub-troops in various intervals. The exhibit features two separate outdoor habitats- the main habitat includes vegetation, boulders, a stream and climbing opportunities. The second exhibit area is referred to as the “penthouse,” a mesh covered structure featuring ropes, ladders and swings that is situated on top of the chimp’s indoor sleeping quarters. Chimpanzees are native to the forest of Africa and are an endangered species threatened by challenges such as deforestation and the bushmeat crisis-commercial hunting for the meat of wild animals. The L.A. Zoo participates in the Chimpanzee Species Survival Plan (SSP). The SSP serves 35 zoos across the United States to help guide the management of the chimpanzee population. Currently there are 245 chimpanzees in Association of Zoos& Aquariums (AZA) accredited Zoos. L.A. Zoo is also involved in the SSP programs for two other species of great ape which are also endangered, the orangutan and gorilla.
The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens is located in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways, where it hosts over 1.6 million visitors each year. The Zoo is home to a diverse collection of 1,100 animals, many of which are rare or endangered. New exhibits include the LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles), Elephants of Asia, and Campo Gorilla Reserve. Admission is $18 for adults and $13 for children ages 2 to 12. The Zoo is open from 10am to 5pm daily. For information, call (323) 644-4200.