The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Infant Chimpanzee, Zoe Can Be Seen at The Oklahoma City Zoo



Jennifer Davis Zoe enjoys her baby chimp sized play area.

It’s a girl and a boy and another boy! Visitors to the Oklahoma City Zoo have the opportunity to meet and see for the first time “Zoe,” a chimpanzee infant. Zoe was born Oct. 14, 2008, to mom “Chloe” and dad “Mwami.”

Joining Zoe are fellow zoo infants, an okapi (pronounced oh-COP-ee) calf born Aug. 15 and a Grevy’s Zebra foal born July 13. Both infants can be found on Wild Dog Row.

Zoe made her official debut at Great EscApe on Sept. 10. This was the first offspring for both parents and the first chimpanzee birth at the zoo since 1949.

Named in honor of her mother, Chloe, Zoe spent the first few months of her life being hand-raised by a team of surrogate animal care specialists. Chloe experienced difficulty coming out of anesthesia and was unable to be revived after CPR was administered.

Zoe was delivered by C-section by the zoo team led by zoo associate veterinarian Dr. Michelle Davis and a group of physicians from OU Medical Center (specializing in obstetrics, gynecology and infant critical care).

“Our primary concerns were for the health and well-being of both infant and mother and had an attempt not been made to discover what the situation was with Chloe, we could have lost both animals,” said Dr. Jennifer D’Agostino, zoo director of Veterinary Services.

Jennifer Davis Zoe gets a kiss from her surrogate mom, Abby.

“We are grateful to the OU Medical Center physicians who donated their time and expertise to help us during this challenging situation.”

A healthy 3.5 pounds, Zoe was cared for round-the-clock for the first 6.5 months of her life. Finding a surrogate chimp mom and integrating Zoe into the chimp family as a physically and socially healthy chimp was the ultimate goal.

“Our team needed to mirror the behavior of a chimp mom as closely as possible,” said Jennifer Davis, Great EscApe supervisor. “Our primary focus was consistently promoting natural behaviors including our vocalizations and facial expressions.”

To help Zoe learn clinging skills a special black, furry vest was designed for keepers to wear during play and feeding sessions.

From the beginning, the chimpanzee family could see, hear and smell Zoe from their protected-contact enclosure next door. In April, Zoe was integrated into her “chimp” family. As chimps have complex social structures and hierarchies, this was a challenging time for zoo workers.

Zoe first day in yard at the Oklahoma City Zoo.

Chimp families can be aggressive, and members of the family were trying to re-establish their hierarchies after Chloe’s death. Careful strategies by the zoo team involved selecting the female with the most maternal instincts, with Abby eventually assuming the role.

“Our team has worked admirably and tirelessly to ensure that Zoe is a well-integrated and socialized chimpanzee,” said Zoo Executive Director/CEO Dwight Scott. “I appreciate their dedication, and as professionals in the zoo industry, it is rewarding for all of us to see Zoe thriving.”

Okapis are the only other member of the family Giraffidae. These “forest giraffes” show several marked resemblances to their much taller relatives. Okapis have similar high shoulders and sloping hindquarters, large eyes and the males of the species have skin-covered horns on their heads, just like the giraffe.

The legs of an okapi are striped in black and white, much like a zebra. The rest of the body is a velvety chestnut brown color with fur so oily that rain slips right off, and a face of startling silvery gray.

Okapis subsist mostly on a diet of leaves and vines. They have exceptionally long prehensile tongues ideally suited for stripping leaves off of branches. Okapi tongues are so long that they are thought to be the only animals in the world that can clean their own ears with their tongues.

LOCATED IN OKLAHOMA CITY’S Adventure District at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, the zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with exhibit buildings closing at 4:45 p.m. Through September, the zoo will remain open until 8 p.m. Saturdays only. Admission is $7 for adults, $4 for children 3-11 and seniors 65 and older. Children 2 and under are free. For more information, call 424-3344 or visit


No comments:

Post a Comment