Another baby on the way for chimpanzee troop at Rockhampton Zoo

Published on 17 December 2020


Rockhampton Zoo is preparing to welcome another baby chimpanzee!

Parks Councillor Cherie Rutherford, together with Rockhampton Zoo staff, made the exciting announcement this morning that 37-year-old member of the troop, Samantha, is expected to give birth next April.

Councillor Rutherford said the team are thrilled to share the news with the community and announce what makes the fourth chimpanzee pregnancy for the Zoo in just three years.

“We are over the moon with the news that Samantha is expecting, and we cannot wait to watch her belly grow over the next four months,” Cr Rutherford said.

“While it is incredible news in terms of our growing troop and for chimpanzee conservation overall, we are particularly happy for Samantha given the heartbreaking loss of her baby around this time last year.” 

In November last year, Samantha gave birth to her first baby. Unfortunately, the baby was stillborn or died immediately after birth.

“The loss of Samantha’s baby was devastating – so this pregnancy news is so very special for all of the staff and I am sure the entire community.

“We are obviously a little anxious given what happened, but are choosing to be cautiously optimistic.”

Alon, the alpha male, is the father of the baby. He is father to each of the chimp babies who include Capri - born in February 2018 to mother Leaky, and Gandali – born in February this year to mother Holly.

Primate Keeper, Blair Chapman, said Zoo staff are keeping a close eye on Samantha and are happy with her pregnancy progression. 

“Samantha is doing extremely well and we are confident she is going to be a great mother,” Blair said.

“She is a very maternal chimp and has always been that way. She often plays with the babies, Capri and Gandali, and spends a lot of time grooming the other chimps.

“Chimpanzees carry for 237 days, or about eight-and-a-half months. Samantha is just over four months into her pregnancy now with a noticeable baby bump - though her belly started to show early on with this pregnancy.

“She already has quite the appetite and is definitely becoming more demanding with her food. 

“We have also had a number of comments on how healthy she looks overall – her hair is in really good condition and glowing.”

The chimpanzee family, along with all animals of the Zoo, can be visited between 10am and 4pm each day. Entry to the Zoo is free.

The Rockhampton Zoo is owned and operated by Rockhampton Regional Council.