New female chimpanzees arrive at Hamilton Zoo


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22 December 2008

Christmas has come early for Hamilton Zoo, with the arrival of two new female chimpanzees.

Mother Fimi (43) and daughter Sanda (23) have been brought to Hamilton Zoo in the hope they will form breeding pairs with the facility's male chimpanzees. Breeding has proved unsuccessful amongst the existing chimpanzees – father Mike, mother Lucy, and sons Luka and Lucifer, and hand-reared females Sally and Suzie – due to lack of interest from the hand-reared females.

Hamilton Zoo Director Stephen Standley said Zoo staff are excited to welcome Fimi and Sanda, and look forward to the pair playing a key role at the facility.

"As well as Fimi and Sanda being invaluable tools for educating visitors about this endangered species, they could prove vital for the long-term sustainability of chimps in this region," he said.

Fimi and Sanda arrived at the facility from Adelaide Zoo on 20 November, and had been housed in quarantine up until yesterday. Since coming out of quarantine they have been introduced to the Zoo's existing chimpanzees through mesh as part of a carefully managed integration process. This process also saw Hamilton Zoo Keeper Catherine Nichols travel to Adelaide to spend time with the pair prior to their move.

Mr Standley said due to the aggressive nature of chimpanzees, there are always risks associated with their integration.

"As well as the existing chimps being threatened by Fimi and Sanda, it is possible their arrival will cause a change in hierarchy amongst the males. Currently the youngest son is the dominant male but this could all change once the new females are introduced," he said.

If their integration goes to plan, Fimi and Sanda could be visible to the public as early as Boxing Day.

Name: Stephen Standley
Designation: Hamilton Zoo Director
Tel (Direct): 07 838 6954
Mobile: 021 912 113
Fax (Direct): 07 838 6960
Name: Sarah Bettle
Designation: Communication Manager
Tel (Direct): 07 838 6843
Mobile: 021 279 2338
Fax (Direct): 07 838 6761
Name: Kylee Bruce
Designation: Communication Advisor
Tel (Direct): 07 838 6726
Mobile: 021 816 917
Fax (Direct): 07 838 6761
Page reviewed: 22 Dec 2008 12:00am