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Taronga Zoo Chimpanzee Troop

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

  1. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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  2. Tafin

    Tafin Well-Known Member

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    Wow, not many babies that were twins survived at all. I guess Gemini was just lucky or perhaps she just had a very good mother.

    Do you think any of the family lines that have disappeared from Taronga will return? Or do you think any more family lines will be lost like Bessie's line was?
     
  3. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Gemini's mother, Susie, was clearly an excellent mother. With the exception of Gemini's twin, all Susie's offspring survived to adulthood. Her maternal skills seem to have been passed on to her descendants: her daughters, Sutu and Shiba; and grandaughter, Samantha, have had near 100% success at rearing their many offspring to adulthood. Only one infant has been lost between them, and as discussed in Post #507, that was due to factors beyond his mother's control.

    The only way for Bessie's line to return to Taronga would be if her daughter, Belle (1975) or her grandaughter, Cara (1981) was imported. With both these females settled in groups overseas (the United States and New Zealand respectively) this would be in my opinion unnecessary and inadvisable simply for the purpose of reinstating a family line, especially since both females are past prime breeding age and would have no family support in Taronga's community. One possible opportunity was missed with Bessie's great grandaughter, Chima (1994-2015). Instead of sending her to Hamilton Zoo, she could have been integrated into the Taronga community along with the females imported from Europe in 2015. The males at Taronga were no more related to her than the males at Hamilton.

    If a family line is to be viewed as a female and her offspring, Lisa and Spitter/Sacha's lines are the most in danger of disappearing as they do not have daughters at Taronga to continue their line; neither does Kuma, but she is in her prime and at least ten reproductive years ahead of her to produce a daughter. There has been talk that Taronga's approach will be to replicate the wild situation (female dispersal), as was done with Lani recently; so it may be that all female offspring are exported, and the females allowed to keep their sons. With so many female offspring born recently, both at Taronga and other zoos in the region, there will be many opportunities for exchange a decade from now (which I think is quite exciting).
     
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  4. Tafin

    Tafin Well-Known Member

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    Susie sounds like the best mum a chimp could have. Were Lulu and Bessie good mothers? I see they both lost a lot of infants but in Bessie's case that was because of a medical reason right?

    So will Sembe and Cebele likely move to another zoo?
     
  5. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Bessie was reportedly an excellent mother and a force to be reckoned with when protecting her family. Bessie had very bad luck with her infants; in addition to at least five miscarriages, she had seven infants who were stillborn or died the day they were born. My theory is Bessie had an Rh negative blood type (see Post #496). Bessie had two daughters who survived to adulthood; one of which produced many offspring at Taronga, allowing Bessie's family to grow for a brief time.

    Given her background, Lulu did well to achieve what she did. She struggled to cope with her newborn twins in 1983, and one had to be euthanised after being attacked by another female; the other one died a couple of weeks later. Her last infant (born 1989) was rejected by Lulu after it was severely injured by one of the adolescent males (incidentally the son of the female who attacked Lulu's twins six years prior).

    I think Sembe will probably move to another zoo; especially now that with five offspring, Shiba and her family make up one quarter of the chimpanzee community. If Taronga want to continue her direct line, they could always retain (and breed) Safiri; though if that was their plan, it'd be better to do with Sembe so Shiba has more years to lend her support as a grandmother.

    As for Cebele, I think it will depend largely on Ceres' reproductive success. Ceres is 29 years old this year, so her reproductive years are limited. If she produces at least one son (ideally two), I'd say its possible Cebele will move on; if not she may be retained as Ceres and Naomi represent a new line and their offspring's genes are not as ingrained in the community as that of the other females.
     
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  6. Tafin

    Tafin Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Zoofan15. I hope Sembe stays at Taronga but Shiba has so many family members. Shona is Shiba's niece right?

    Do you know if the chimps who attacked Lulu's infants were removed after the attacks?

    Do you know why Naomi hasn't bred yet?
     
  7. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, Shona is Shiba's niece. She was Sutu's second offspring and was effectively orphaned after Sutu was exported to the Hyderabad Zoo in 1992, when Shona was five years old. Shona was sterlised at a young age and therefore has never had offspring. Since Shiba was busy raising her own offspring, she has shown little support for Shona; and Shona should be regarded as her own family unit within the community, rather than an extension of Shiba's.

    Mary was not removed from the community following her attack on Lulu's twins in 1983. She gave birth to a son in 1985 and remained in the community until her death in 1989 at the age of 33 years. She was one of the highest ranking females. Mervin was removed from the community after inflicting fatal injuries on three of the infants; his removal from the troop coincided with the introduction of the new male Snowy, which also required the removal of Danny. They were both exported in 1992.

    I'm not sure why Naomi hasn't bred yet. She's been at the zoo since 2015 and is more than old enough to breed, so I'm sure it won't be long. Maybe her contraceptive is taking longer to wear off than expected?
     
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  8. Tafin

    Tafin Well-Known Member

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    Wow interesting. Do you know why Shona was sterilised? She must suffer by not being able to have infants when all the other females can?

    Mary was one of the youngest founding females right? Do you know how she became high ranking over the others as she would have started off on the bottom rung surely so to speak?
     
  9. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Shona was sterilised as a means of controlling population growth. Prior to the 1990s, females were allowed to breed freely and many infants were born. The move from the old cage block to the open air exhibit in 1980 drastically improved the infant mortality rate and the exhibit was fast approaching it’s carrying capacity. There were many exports during the 1990s and females were put on contraception. I imagine Shona was chosen to be sterilised as there was already a reproductive age female from her family line in the community. Yes, Shona’s low ranking is no doubt due to her inability to produce infants, and she receives little to no support in conflicts as a result.

    Yes, Mary was born 1956; whereas the other founding females were born between 1948 and 1952. Mary’s status would have been helped by the presence of her son, Mike (born 1973). Many of the other founding females only had daughters at this time; except for Fifi (the alpha female). All of Mary’s offspring survived to adulthood, including the two that were born in the old cage block (when mortality was high). This suggests Mary was an excellent mother and probably quite tough. Mary’s attack on Lulu’s male twins in 1984 was typical infanticidal behaviour of a high ranking female. Twin sons would be a huge boost to status if they survived to adulthood and Mary would have been conscious of this.
     
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  10. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    While researching cases of EMCV at Taronga Zoo, I came across this paper on cardiovascular disease in chimpanzees. It describes the deaths of two males at Taronga Zoo (neither of which died as a result of cardiovascular disease):

    SAGE Journals: Your gateway to world-class research journals

    Snowy (1983-1999) - drowned in exhibit most:

    Chimpanzee No. 3 was a 16-year-old male in good body condition (79.8 kg) who died during a fight with a cage-mate. He was observed to fall backwards into a moat and sank to the bottom apparently unconscious. He was recovered to the veterinary hospital, and an attempt was made to resuscitate him for 40 minutes using oxygen therapy and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. He was not successfully revived. He had no known prior clinical problems and no history of clinical heart disease. Gross examination and histopathological examination confirmed cause of death was by drowning, characterized by flooding of alveoli with lightly proteinaceous fluid in a patchy distribution, and small aggregates of brown, granular material and plant matter were within alveoli and bronchi. There were no other significant findings. Examination of the heart showed no gross evidence of vascular plaques, valvular disease, or myocardial disease. Histological examination of the LV and RV showed no pathological features. Examination of RV and LV heart sections stained with Masson’s trichrome showed normal distribution of collagen.

    Chimbuka (1995-2011) - euthanised after contracting tuberculosis:

    Chimpanzee No. 4 was a 16-year-old male in poor body condition (48.0 kg) who was euthanized due to clinical chronic wasting and identification of multifocal purulent lymphadenitis associated with acid-fast bacteria. Annual health checks under GA between 2000 and 2009 revealed no evidence of cardiac disease. Gross and histopathological examination revealed systemic pyogranulomatous mycobacteriosis. The agent of disease was confirmed as Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex using culture and molecular diagnostics. The heart was grossly and histopathologically normal (Fig. 13). Examination of RV, LV, and IVS heart sections stained with Masson’s trichrome showed normal collagen distribution between myocyte bundles and surrounding vessels (Fig. 13, inset).
     
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  11. Tafin

    Tafin Well-Known Member

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    How many chimpanzees were exported? Do you have a list of them? Did they take into account family relatives being separated or just make decisions based on genetics?

    Was Fifi the highest ranking because of her sons?
     
  12. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    15 Chimpanzee were exported during the 1990s:

    Wellington Zoo (24/04/1992):

    0.1 Cara (born 10/09/1981)
    0.1 Samantha (born 25/12/1983)
    0.1 Sally (born 13/01/1985)

    Hyderabad Zoo (16/10/1992):

    1.0 Danny (born 22/07/1974)
    0.1 Sutu (born 28/12/1974)
    1.0 Mervin (born 01/02/1982)
    0.1 Cheena (born 15/08/1985)
    0.1 Sumu (born 18/05/1991)

    Perth Zoo (19/06/1998):

    0.1 Sandra (born 28/02/1971)
    1.0 Monte (born 31/10/1985)
    0.1 Kike (born 11/04/1991)

    Taiping Zoo (30/07/1998):

    0.1 Melissa (born 30/01/1978)
    0.1 Ficha (born 29/04/1981)
    1.0 Mali (born 06/02/1991)
    0.1 Chunga (born 13/03/1991)

    Compare this to the fact that only one Chimpanzee was exported in the 2000s; and two Chimpanzee to date in the 2010s.

    I believe family relations were taken into account to an extent e.g. if Ficha and Kuma had been exported together, then Fifi would have been left with no family. However, I believe the priority was to have as many family lines as possible continue, as the exports always left each line with a breeding female (with the exception of the final M family exports in 1998).

    Fifi had two advantages from the start: 1) She was the eldest of the founding females and 2) When the previous alpha male died in 1975, her 11 year old son was the only adolescent/adult male in the community and assumed the alpha position. This would have cemented Fifi’s position as the alpha female. Her sons (born 1964 and 1971) were the highest ranking males in the community until their exports.
     
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  13. Tafin

    Tafin Well-Known Member

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    Oh okay, so the lack of exports in the last 19/20 years is due to a decrease in breeding? There's still females like Shiba who have had six infants to date though.

    Do you know why they ended the M family at Taronga? Was it because of the incidents with Lulu's twins and Mervin killing those infants? I.e. were they an aggressive family line?
     
  14. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Short answer yes. Basically Taronga aren't breeding more Chimpanzees than they can accommodate. The mortality rate has greatly decreased compared to pre-2000s, so it's reasonable to expect the majority of infants will survive to adulthood. Shiba has had six infants yes; but compare the birth intervals between her offspring (1990, 1994, 2001, 2008, 2014, 2019) to that of her mother (1960, 1962, 1964, 1967, 1970, 1974, 1978, 1981). Shiba was put on contraception between her infants (as were the other females), which artificially extended the birth intervals.

    I think the primary reason for ending the M line was Taronga Zoo were wanting to export Chimpanzee and Melissa and her son, Mali, were an obvious choice. Their removal; and that of Melissa's brother (Monte), didn't leave family members isolated in the community like the removal of other mother-offspring dyads (i.e. Mary was deceased by then). The majority of interactions a juvenile Chimpanzee has are with it's immediate family so Mary's death deprived Mervin and Monte of a significant opportunities for social interaction. The incidents with Mervin and the infants in 1989 may have been accidental (i.e. out of curiosity) rather than a deliberate attempt to kill them, maybe he didn't know his own strength? Monte also had a fascination with infants; similar to Sule, who while not orphaned - didn't have the most attentive mother growing up.
     
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  15. Tafin

    Tafin Well-Known Member

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    How many Chimpanzees have died since 2000? Has the birth rate equalled the death rate exactly?

    Don't the juvenile chimps play with other infants their age?
     
  16. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    6 adults have died at Taronga Zoo since 2000:

    0.1 Chiki (born 06/07/1970) - died 18/04/2001
    1.0 Gombe (born 25/12/1988) - died 04/05/2001
    0.1 Fifi (born 01/01/1947) - died 19/07/2007
    0.1 Bessie (born 01/01/1950) - died 11/01/2011
    1.0 Chimbuka (born 09/12/1995) - died 13/09/2011
    0.1 Lulu (born 01/01/1952) - died 02/05/2014

    8 infants have died at Taronga Zoo since 2000:

    0.1 Unnamed (born 03/09/2002) Unknown x Sasha
    0.1 Unnamed (born 08/02/2003) Unknown x Koko
    0.0 Unnamed (born 02/07/2005) Unknown x Kamili
    0.1 Unnamed (born 27/10/2012) Unknown x Kuma
    1.0 Unnamed (born 26/03/2013) Unknown x Kamili
    0.0 Unnamed (born 29/06/2014) Unknown x Kamili
    0.0 Unnamed (born 03/09/2014) Unknown x Koko
    1.0 Unnamed (born 23/09/2017) Samaki x Lani

    11 surviving infants have been born at Taronga Zoo since 2000:

    1.0 Samaki (born 27/11/2001) Lubutu x Shiba
    0.1 Lani (born 25/05/2002) Lubutu x Lisa
    1.0 Furahi (born 28/02/2003) Lubutu x Kuma
    1.0 Shikamoo (born 25/07/2003) Lubutu x Sasha
    0.1 Sembe (born 27/02/2008) Lubutu x Sasha
    1.0 Sule (born 04/04/2008) Lubutu x Sacha
    1.0 Fumo (born 16/10/2013) Shikamoo x Kuma
    1.0 Sudi (born 09/08/2014) Shikamoo x Shiba
    1.0 Liwali (born 22/09/2014) Samaki x Lisa
    0.1 Cebeli (born 14/11/2017) Samaki x Ceres
    0.1 Safiri (born 00/05/2019) Unknown x Shiba

    As you can see, the 11 surviving infants exceed the 6 adults that died during this time. The 8 infants that died should not be factored in as many represented a place that was subsequently made available for a sibling to be born. For example, if Sacha's 2002 infant had survived; Shikamoo wouldn't have been born the following year. Immigration/emigration during this time was negligible as there were three imports and three exports.

    As for the juvenile and infant chimps playing with each other, there was a study done on their interactions with each other. Findings included that the oldest juvenile at the time, Cheena (1985) played only with her younger sister, Chunga (1991), despite having available playmates closer in age. In contrast, Shona (1987) was shown to be very attentive towards the infants. In addition, Chimpanzee with no mother (like Monte) or less attentive mothers (like Sule) have always shown more engagement with infants than others. As with humans, there's variation in preferences on who they want to play with.
     
    Last edited: 1 Aug 2019
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  17. Tafin

    Tafin Well-Known Member

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    That's so interesting. I wonder why Cheena wasn't so close to the other chimps her age? What about the 2000s infants, which of them get on or don't get on? Lani and Sembe were the only girls for years right? So I'm guessing they were close?

    Who do you think Safiri's father is? Will they do a DNA test?
     
  18. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    As with humans, chimps have their own preferences on who they like to spend time with. Their first preference would usually be a similar age sibling within their own family unit. In Cheena’s case, she had a mother and a younger sister; while Monte and Shona had neither a mother or a younger sibling to interact with. This would have made them branch out more.

    From adolescence, Samaki has latched onto Lubutu. I’ve come across photos of Lani playing both with Samaki as an infant, and Sembe; but also I’ve heard she was quite aloof from the other juveniles growing up. Furahi and Shikamoo have been friends from a young age. Sule’s main playmates as a infant were his brother Shikamoo; and Sembe, who is the same age. He was also obsessed with Fumo when he was born!

    I think Furahi and Shikamoo are the most likely candidates for the paternity of Safiri. After the Lubutu/Samaki, coalition; Furahi is the highest ranking male and a possible contender for the alpha role. Shikamoo is popular with the females and has already sired two infants (including one to Shiba). Lubutu can be ruled out due as he is vasectomised; Shabani and Samaki can probably be ruled out due to female chimps generally not allowing their sons to sire their infants; which leaves just leaves Sule and at a stretch, Fumo:

    Candidates for paternity of Safiri:

    1. Shikamoo (popular, proven breeder)
    2. Furahi (high ranking)
    3. Sule (popular)
    4. Samaki (high ranking but Shiba’s son)
    5. Shabani (low ranking and Shiba’s son)
    6. Fumo (unlikely with older, prime age males in the community)
     
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  19. Tafin

    Tafin Well-Known Member

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    It would have been so cute to see Sule playing with Fumo. Did he give Liwali and Sudi the same attention? Did Sembe take an interest in them also?

    Fumo would be a really young dad. A lot of the males have fathered infants at a young age though, right?

    I know you said that female chimpanzees don't usually mate with their sons but I found a photo of Shabani and Shiba mating and Lubutu is the father of Lani.
     
  20. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    I don't believe Sule ever gave Sudi and Liwali the same attention. As the next youngest member of the community when Fumo was born; Sule had never seen a younger chimp than himself, so Fumo would have been something of a novelty. While an excellent mother, Kuma was relaxed enough to trust Sule with Fumo, which nurtured their bond. Both Shiba and Lisa (especially Lisa) were more protective with their infants so Sule wouldn't have initially had the same access. Being almost a year older (and therefore more mobile), I'd imagine Fumo was more fun for Sule to interact with. Sembe also showed interest in Fumo. She initially resented her brother Sudi, but soon became an attentive big sister.

    Yes, Fumo would be a very young dad if he was Safiri's sire. He was five years and seven months old when Safiri was born (the equivalent of an 10 year old human). Snowy was eight years and nine months old upon the birth of his first infant (Kuma); Lubutu was eight years and five months old upon the birth of his first infant (Samaki); Shikamoo was ten years and three months old upon the birth of his first infant (Fumo). In conclusion, while there probably have been cases of male chimpanzees as young as Fumo siring infants, it is highly unlikely he is the sire when there are so many adolescent and adult males in the community.

    Male chimpanzees can tell when a female is fertile and this is when she is of most interest to them. Mating outside of peak fertility is pretty much anyone's game. Sule would mate with females like Koko from as young as five and as long as she wasn't ovulating, none of the adult males would care. Shiba would present to any of the males outside of ovulation; but likely wouldn't present to Shabani or Samaki when she is fertile, nor would they show the same interest that they would in the unrelated females. The likely reason Lubutu was the sire of Lani was that he was the only adolescent/adult male in the community at the time she was conceived (at eight years of age); the next eldest male at seven years of age (Shabani) may have not quite attained reproductive age.
     
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