Come meet our baby – and help us name him!
Published on 14 February 2020
Hearts across the Rockhampton Region melted last week as Rockhampton Zoo announced the arrival of a happy and healthy baby chimpanzee. Now the little one is ready to meet the public! The chimpanzee enclosure reopened today and the community is being asked not only to visit, but to help name the new arrival.
The baby boy, born on Monday 3 February to mum Holly and dad Alon, is Capri’s half-brother. The chimpanzee enclosure has been closed off since he was born but has reopened this morning.
Parks Chair Councillor Cherie Rutherford said the keepers had been monitoring Holly, her baby and all the other chimps closely, and that the troop is now ready to see everyone and introduce the new arrival.
“We appreciate everybody’s patience while the enclosure has been fenced off. This time in private is vital for the troop to bond with and get used to having a new member of the group,” said Cr Rutherford.
“The keepers are really pleased with Holly and the baby’s progress. He is feeding a lot and there are plenty of snuggles happening!
“Chimpanzees are very social animals and in the last few days they’ve been running up to see the staff as soon as they approach, which is a sure sign they’d like to see more people.”
Cr Rutherford said the community response to the news of the birth had been overwhelming.
“We have received literally hundreds and hundreds of messages congratulating Holly and the zoo on the new arrival, it’s been absolutely wonderful.
“We saw a similar outpouring of affection when Capri was born. However, these messages have seemed more heartfelt after Samantha, another of our chimps, tragically lost her baby at the end of last year. I know the community went through that pain with us, and that everyone is just as happy as we are to not only see Samantha doing well, but to meet this wonderful and healthy new addition to the troop.
“Given that the zoo and the chimps hold such a special place in the hearts of our residents it is absolutely right that we turn to our community for name suggestions – we have seen some comments on facebook already.
“When we put out the call to help name Capri we saw some lovely reasons behind the suggestions. Some reflected the heritage of the parents (Alon and Leakey are from Israel), some were about the area of Africa that most chimpanzees live in the wild, and others highlighted the fact Capri was born right here in CQ.
“We will take all of the suggestions and then a panel, which will include our primate keeper Blair Chapman, will create a shortlist.
“We will then hold an event at the zoo and let Alon and Holly make the final choice, much like we did with Capri.
“I am sure we will see some fantastic suggestions and I have no doubt choosing the shortlist will be a huge challenge, but what a lovely challenge to have.
“I can’t wait to see the name ideas come in!”
To suggest a name for the new baby boy, please visit www.rrc.qld.gov.au/babychimpname by February 23.