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Taronga Zoo Chimpanzee Troop

Discussion in 'Australia' started by Chimo, 28 Jul 2013.

  1. Osprey71

    Osprey71 Well-Known Member

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    Just found out from Taronga zoo facebook page. It is a girl born on the 6th June 2019.. Frala is 37 years old.
     
  2. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    I’ve already posted this news in this thread since Frala and her new baby are members of the gorilla troop (not the chimpanzee community):

    Australian (and NZ) Great Ape News and Discussion

    I’m looking forward to seeing your pics however. While we’re here in the chimpanzee thread, do you have any updates on the community? Are any of the females off contraception or pregnant?
     
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  3. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Chimpanzee Birth:

    Shiba gave birth to a daughter in May, she has been named Safari:

    Adorable, Endangered Baby Chimp Safiri Born At Sydney Zoo

    Primate Keeper Janet Lackey said both mum and bub are doing "really well.”

    “Safiri is suckling really well and we're seeing her develop. She's really building her strength; we are starting to see her hold her head up," Lackey said.

    Safiri's birth brings Taronga Conservation Society Australia's number of chimpanzees to 21, including one-and-a-half-year-old Cebele and Spitter, who will turn 60 next year.

    "Having another little girl really helps us balance out our group," Lackey said, adding Cebele as a playmate "will really help with Safiri’s growth and development".

    This is the sixth offspring for 38 year old Shiba:

    1.0 Kibale born 03/04/1990 (Died 05/12/1992)

    1.0 Shabani born 14/09/1994 (Still at Taronga Zoo)

    1.0 Samaki born 27/11/2001 (Still at Taronga Zoo)

    0.1 Sembe born 27/02/2008 (Still at Taronga Zoo)

    1.0 Sudi born 09/08/2014 (Still at Taronga Zoo)

    0.1 Safiri born 00/05/2019 (Still at Taronga Zoo)
     
    Last edited: 14 Jul 2019
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  4. marmolady

    marmolady Well-Known Member

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    So excited to hear this announced at last! Fantastic to have another female infant born- seems to be a string of female babies in the region, which is nice after a lot of male births.
     
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  5. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    @marmolady, had you been keeping this under your hat?

    Given the high mortality rate of chimpanzee infants born to older mothers, I can understand why Taronga Zoo have gone eight weeks without announcing it.

    If Safiri survives to adulthood, Shiba at 38 will be the oldest chimpanzee mother at Taronga Zoo to raise an infant to adulthood. The previous record holders are Lisa at 35 (assuming Liwali survives to adulthood); Fimi at 34; and Lulu and Susie at 33.

    And yes, the last five (surviving) infants born in the region have been female. Lots of opportunities for transfers a decade from now!
     
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  6. marmolady

    marmolady Well-Known Member

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    That had been under my hat for a little while!
     
  7. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Cause of Death of Kibale (1990-1992)

    I've often wondered what the cause of death was for Shiba's first offspring, Kibale. Shiba was just under nine years old when she gave birth to her first offspring; and while it's not unusual for adolescent females to lose their first offspring due to inexperience, his death at the age of two was statistically unusual given he'd made it through the critical first few months (when mortality is highest).

    While researching something else on the history of Taronga Zoo's chimpanzee community, I stumbled across the answer on this page: Encephalomyocarditis (Viral Disease)

    Kibale died after contracting the Encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV). EMCV is thought to be spread by rodents, where food and water is contaminated by infected urine and faeces. As in the case of Kibale, EMCV can result in sudden death as a result of acute myocarditus (inflammation of the heart).

    While Kibale's death was tragic; given Shiba's exceptional maternal skills, it came as no surprise to me that Kibale's death was due to no fault of her own.

    Prior to a research paper being published in 1997 on cases EMCV infection at Taronga Zoo, at least one other chimpanzee at Taronga Zoo (an adolescent male) contracted EMCV. I believe EMCV was also the cause of death of Gombe in 2001, who died due to inflammation of the heart (caused by an infection).

    Taronga Zoo's research department have since developed a vaccine to protect against EMCV. This is now given annually to the chimpanzees and no further deaths have since occurred.
     
    Last edited: 16 Jul 2019
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  8. Tafin

    Tafin Well-Known Member

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    I can't believe there's a whole thread dedicated to this one exhibit. It's awesome though, I'll have a lot of fun reading through it all.

    Are any of the chimps in NZ or Aus of a purebred subspecies?
     
  9. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    It all makes for interesting reading; but if you’re wanting to learn about the family lines at Taronga, I’d recommend starting with the following posts (each representing one of the six founders):

    Fifi (1947): Post #137 (Page 7)

    Susie (1948): Post #121 (Page 7)

    Bessie (1950): Post #128 (Page 7)

    Biddy (1950): Post #136 (Page 7)

    Lulu (1952): Post #146 (Page 8)

    Mary (1956): Post #140 (Page 7)

    Two of these lines (Bessie’s and Mary’s) are no longer at Taronga; but all members of their current community are directly descended from them, with the exception of Koko (imported in 1993 from Melbourne Zoo); and sisters Ceres and Naomi (imported in 2015 from Givskud Zoo). Koko has a daughter named Kamili (born 1995); Ceres has a daughter named Cebele (born 2017).
     
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  10. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Most, if not all, are hybrids and no populations are managed on a subspecies level.

    The founders of Taronga’s community were likely from two or more subspecies, which have become amalgamated into a hybrid population through inbreeding.

    The six founding females were all wild born (i.e. purebred) and so was Bobby, who subsequently bred with all six of them to produce offspring. It’s reasonable to assume that by the odds of probability, Bobby was of the same subspecies as at least one of the six founding females and therefore their offspring were also purebred.

    Bobby was imported by Taronga Zoo via the same animal dealer as Biddy (and on the same date), so it’s not beyond the realms to imagine they were of the same subspecies (maybe even captured from the same wild community) as the animal dealer would hardly be traversing the continent to source chimpanzee from different geographical areas. Bessie was also imported via the same dealer that year; as were Peter and Leonie (at Adelaide Zoo) so again, it’s likely they were of the same subspecies as Bobby and Biddy. This means Chiki (born 1970 to Bessie) and Danny (born 1974 to Biddy) were likely purebred.

    After Bobby’s death in 1975; Fifi’s son, JoJo, sired all offspring until the late 1980s, so unless Fifi was of the same subspecies as Bobby (and there’s no reason to believe she was), this would have started the process of hybridisation.
     
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  11. Tafin

    Tafin Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that info ZooFan15. I'm going to be reading through the thread from start to finish so will surely get to those records. I'm currently only up to page 5!

    What happened to Chiki and Danny as I don't think they're still at Taronga? Are any other chimps in the region purebred apart from those you mentioned?
     
  12. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    No problem. Let me know if you have any more questions.

    Danny was exported to Hyderabad Zoo in 1992. Taronga Zoo had recently imported a new breeding male, Snowy, who was a juvenile and could not be safely introduced to Danny; so Danny was removed from the group, and exported along with several other chimpanzees. Danny sired twelve offspring between 1985-1991, one of which is still living at Taronga Zoo.

    Chiki died at Taronga Zoo in 2001. It was a great blow to the community as she was a successful breeding female, and left behind a five year old son, who had a difficult adolescence due to the loss of his mother. Since her daughters had already been exported, Chiki’s death marked the beginning of the end of her line at Taronga Zoo; which officially ended in 2011 with the death of her mother Bessie, and her orphaned teenage son, Chimbuka.

    As for purebred chimpanzee in the region, I’m not aware of any; though Sally at Hamilton Zoo might be. She was born 1970 at Auckland Zoo to two tea-party chimps, who were wild born and arrived at the zoo at same time. As with Bobby and Biddy, it’s likely they were caught from the same troop (or at least the same geographical area) and therefore were of the same subspecies.

    First generation chimpanzees like Spitter (born 1960 to Biddy) Lisa (born 1979 to Lulu) and Shiba (born 1981 to Susie) will be at the very least half purebred as their respective mothers were purebred.
     
    Last edited: 21 Jul 2019
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  13. marmolady

    marmolady Well-Known Member

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    Galatea at Monarto Zoo is a pure P.t.verus. When she was exported from the Netherlands, her sire Fons was believed to be a hybrid, but since then further testing has confirmed that he is a pure verus, as is Galatea's mother, Gaby. No doubt, she would not have been exported out of Europe if it was known that she wasn't a hybrid.
     
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  14. Tafin

    Tafin Well-Known Member

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    Thank you to you and Zoofan15 for your replies. Is it possible to tell the what sub species a chimp is by physical appearance alone?
     
  15. marmolady

    marmolady Well-Known Member

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    To the trained eye, subspecies can be recognised by physical appearance, but unless you know the chimp's region in Africa of origin, DNA testing would be necessary to be certain (especially is most captive chimps are not wildborn, and there are a lot of hybrids).
     
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  16. Tafin

    Tafin Well-Known Member

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    So would it be possible to tell through looking at a photo of one of the founders Zoofan15 mentioned what subspecies it was? Do the subspecies behave differently?
     
  17. Tafin

    Tafin Well-Known Member

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    Zoofan15 - I see some of the females had twins. Do you have a list of all the twins born (not just to the founders you listed but any females since then).
     
  18. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    I think the difficulty here would be there are few (good quality) photos available on the internet of the founding females in their youth or even their prime. Most photos of them were taken when they were in their old age, when they had long surpassed the life expectancy of their wild counterparts and no longer closely resembled them in appearance.

    If you click this link however, there is a picture of Lulu from 1964:

    The Sydney Morning Herald from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on August 15, 1964 · Page 3

    If her year of birth was 1952 (as estimated by Taronga Zoo), she would be 12 years old in this picture. In my opinion, she looks more a four year old juvenile (born 1960). This also would have made her nine years old upon the birth of her first infant in 1969; not 17.

    I’ve found a study that suggests female Western chimpanzees are highly social with each other; while female Eastern chimpanzees are mainly solitary and rarely interact. It’s interesting to note that chimpanzees like Spitter have always been highly social and integrated with the community; while Sutu and Shiba (sisters) have always been more aloof from the community, focussed on their own offspring.
     
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  19. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    As far as I’m aware, there’s been four sets of chimpanzee twins born at Taronga Zoo:

    Susie (1948) gave birth to:

    0.1 Gemini (16/10/1970) Exported 08/09/1982
    0.1 Unnamed (16/10/1970) Died 16/10/1970

    Bessie (1950) gave birth to:

    0.1 Unnamed (03/11/1981) Died 03/11/1981
    0.1 Unnamed (03/11/1981) Died 03/11/1981

    Lulu (1952) gave birth to:

    1.0 Unnamed (09/04/1983) Died 22/04/1983
    1.0 Unnamed (09/04/1983) Died 17/05/1983

    Sandra (1971) gave birth to:

    1.0 Unnamed (19/11/1997) Died 20/11/1997
    0.1 Unnamed (20/11/1997) Died 02/12/1997

    In humans, twins are more likely if the mother is older; has twins in the family; and has had previous births. In the chimpanzees listed here, three of the four are over 25 years of age (two are over 30) and all had previously given birth. If take these three factors into account, the chances of Shiba (who gave birth in May) having twins were probably quite high!
     
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  20. lintworm

    lintworm Moderator Staff Member

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    The last part is nonsense, anyone who has read anything by Jane Goodall would know there is a very high number of interactions between female chimps in the eastern parts of their range.
     
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