Keepers at Monarto Safari Park have celebrated the first birthday of chimpanzee Zola with a celebration for the troop.
The one-year-old celebrated in style with keepers decorating the outdoor exhibit with papier mache balls filled with dried pellets, seeds and nuts. Streamers, Happy Birthday paper and big boxes of presents filled with healthy treats also festooned the outdoor area.
“Little Zola doesn’t stop,” said Senior keeper Laura Hanley. “She charges around all the time and loves to play with her brother Enzi, four and 18-month-old Hope.
“She loves wrestling with her two pals and copies what they do. She’s also very adventurous and likes to jump on and off things and make up games,” finished Laura.
As a one-year-old, little Zola still stays close to mum Zombi and hitches a ride on her chest.
Monarto Safari Park is home to twelve cheeky chimpanzees. The group consists of four adult females, four adult males, an adolescent female, one juvenile male and two infant girls.
Young chimpanzees have a little white tuft of fur on the base of their back. This tuft is a signal to adult chimps that they are young and can, therefore, get away with mischief!
Chimpanzees are classified as endangered by the IUCN Red List. Chimpanzees are already extinct in four out of the 25 range countries where they exist with numbers decreasing to an estimate of as low as 172,000 in the wild.
The major threat to chimpanzees is habitat loss due to logging, mining, palm oil plantations and population growth. Chimpanzees are also hunted for the bushmeat trade, where Chimpanzee meat and body parts can be sold on the black market for high profits. Chimpanzees are also captured for the illegal wildlife trade, where young chimps are sold as pets for entertainment.
Zoos SA supports Chimpanzee conservation projects in Africa through raising awareness at zoo keeper talks and through community campaigns. Zoos SA also provides conservation support and funds to both the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary and the Jane Goodall Institute Tchimpounga Sanctuary in Africa.