Monarto Zoo’s chimp troop is like a second family to Senior Chimpanzee Keeper, Laura Hanley. Having worked with the chimps for since the first males arrived at the zoo in 2009, she knows all the ins and outs of daily chimp life! Find out what the cheeky chimps have been up to recently.
Like many of us, our chimpanzee troop at Monarto Zoo isn’t too fond of this wintery weather.
To beat the cold, the troop is spending a great deal of time inside in our heated chimp building.
When they do brave the cold and venture outside, many of the chimps like to wear a towel as weather protection by wrapping it around their shoulders as they collect food!
Big steps for little Enzi
The cooler weather certainly hasn’t slowed down our youngest chimp troop member, Enzi. At almost 10 months old, Enzi is developing all the time and growing in confidence every day!
He has begun crawling quite a distance away from mum, Zombi, to further explore his surroundings, but big sister, Zuri, is never too far behind him.
Zuri is a wonderful big sister and is quite protective of her little brother. She will often nudge Enzi back in the direction of mum if he wanders too far.
Enzi has even been spotted pulling himself in to lower sections of the trees in the chimp habitat. He watches Zuri very intently as she climbs above him and we’re sure it won’t be long before he is climbing them all by himself!
Enzi continues to nurse from Zombi and will for some time, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t love his food.
He can quite often be spotted taste testing the different food he finds on his travels.
And if you happen to catch him eating or yawning, you’ll see he certainly has his full set of baby teeth.
A birthday surprise for Zuri
Later in the month, the chimps and their keepers will be celebrating a very special occasion. On August 21 Zuri will turn four years old!
To mark the special day, the chimps will be given some extra special treats, including papier mache balls with the birthday girl’s favourite foods hidden inside!
Zuri continues to mature every day, but her playful side continues to grow. She is a cheeky chimp and loves to play chasey or have a tickling match with the adult chimps.
It won’t be long before Enzi will join in the fun – giving the adults a much needed break!
Meantime, politics has been on the minds of our adult male chimps!
Alpha male, Tsotsi, has been quite busy the last few months trying to keep the troop stable.
He has been warding off challenges from our youngest adult male, and father to Enzi and Zuri, Sandali.
Tsotsi has held the alpha male status within the troop since the start of 2011, but as with all chimp troops, we can’t be sure how long his reign will last.
It is always fascinating observing the daily politics of Chimpanzee life!
We hope you will come and visit the troop soon, you never quite know what will be on display – a playful Zuri, a political Tsotsi or an adventurous Enzi!
Senior Primate Keeper, Monarto Zoo