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Wellington Zoo Wellington Zoo Chimpanzee

Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by Zoofan15, 22 Oct 2015.

  1. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Can anyone contribute any information on the history of the chimpanzee at Wellington Zoo (Pre 1990s).

    The founding females were Tea-party chimps, imported from London Zoo (Via Auckland Zoo) in 1956. Their names were:

    -Breena
    -Yoka
    -Molly

    Does anyone know the estimated date of birth of these animals, their date of death, or most importantly their offspring? Any information would be appreciated...

    I've also heard information that breeding started when (four?) males were imported from Taronga Zoo. Does anyone know anything about this? Four males seems a lot to import, though chimpanzees were kept in pairs back in the 50s, 60s etc. as were gorilla so perhaps the zoo seriously believed the needed a male for every female to achieve breeding??? We now know different.
     
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  2. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    the four males in 1957 were also tea-party chimps, and likewise came from London Zoo (at the time London trained and exported many tea-party chimps for zoos around the world). However they can only be used as such for a relatively short period before they become too large and dangerous. Breeding would have been only a secondary intent for the import.
     
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  3. Paradoxurus

    Paradoxurus Well-Known Member

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    I'm pretty sure Tim Kniveton wrote a history of the Wellington Zoo chimpanzees for a Bartlett Society journal a few years back.
     
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  4. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    "Chimpanzees in New Zealand - the London Connection", 2006, journal number 17.... if anyone has it.
     
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  5. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for your replies. I'm guessing that journal (or even that article) aren't available online? It would be an interesting read.

    I've since learned, that the first chimpanzee born at Wellington Zoo was a male named Patrick, born 17th March 1960.
     
  6. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Current Troop:

    Males:
    Sam (1977) WZ
    Marty (1987) WZ
    Alexis (1998) WZ
    Beni (2007) WZ
    Bakari (2012) WZ
    Kitwe (2014) WZ

    Females:

    Jessie (1978) WZ
    Cara (1981) TZ (1992)
    Samantha (1983) TZ (1992)
    Sally (1985) TZ (1992)
    Keza (1998) WZ
    Malika (2010) WZ

    WZ = born at Wellington Zoo
    TZ = born at Taronga Zoo (year of arrival)

    Cara is the mother of Alexis; Samantha is the mother of Keza and Malika; Sally is the mother of Beni and Bakara; Keza is the mother of Kitwe.
     
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  7. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Historical Information on Wellington Zoo’s Chimpanzee

    I have some information on the three females imported in 1956; as well as the four males that were imported in 1957. I will list this below:

    Post #8: Yoka
    Post #9: Molly
    Post #10: Breena
    Post #11: Males
    Post #12: Additional Information
    Post #13: Photo (1963 Approx)
     
    Last edited: 10 Jan 2019
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  8. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Yoka

    Yoka (F)
    Born in the wild (Africa) 01/01/1953
    Arrived at Wellington Zoo 27/10/1956
    Died at Wellington Zoo 26/08/1979

    Yoka gave birth to 10 offspring at Wellington Zoo:

    June (F)
    Born at Wellington Zoo 15/09/1960
    Sent to Melbourne Zoo 27/10/1966

    Bebe (F)
    Born at Wellington Zoo 16/12/1962
    Died at Wellington Zoo 08/09/2003

    Steven (M)
    Born at Wellington Zoo 14/11/1965
    Sent to Bullen’s Animal World 31/07/1973

    Sara (F)
    Born at Wellington Zoo 06/04/1968
    Sent to Bullen’s Animal World 31/07/1973

    Pan (M)
    Born at Wellington Zoo 03/12/1970
    Sent to Natureland Zoo 28/12/1978

    Jagger (M)
    Born at Wellington Zoo 14/11/1974
    Sent to Ridgway’s Circus 01/01/1976

    Jodie (F)
    Born at Wellington Zoo 01/06/1977
    Died at Wellington Zoo 18/06/2002

    Jessie (F)
    Born at Wellington Zoo 10/07/1978
    Still at Wellington Zoo

    Unnamed (M)
    Born at Wellington Zoo 26/08/1979
    Died at Wellington Zoo 26/08/1979

    Jimmy (M)
    Born at Wellington Zoo 26/08/1979
    Died at Wellington Zoo 13/10/1979
     
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  9. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Molly

    Molly (F)

    Born in the wild (Africa) 01/06/1953
    Arrived at Wellington Zoo 27/10/1956
    Sent to Melbourne Zoo 27/10/1966

    Molly gave birth to two offspring at Wellington Zoo:

    Pat (M)
    Born at Wellington Zoo 17/03/1960
    Sent to Melbourne Zoo 27/10/1966

    Bobo (M)
    Born at Wellington Zoo 23/10/1962
    Sent to Bullen’s Animal World 31/07/1973
     
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  10. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Breena

    Breena (F)
    Born in the wild (Africa) 01/01/1954
    Arrived at Wellington Zoo 27/10/1956
    Died at Wellington Zoo 28/06/1974

    Breena gave birth to two offspring at Wellington Zoo:

    Dorne (F)
    Born at Wellington Zoo 15/04/1962
    Died at Wellington Zoo 01/07/1974

    Stella (F)
    Born at Wellington Zoo 02/10/1965
    Sent to Adelaide Zoo 18/11/1968
     
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  11. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Males

    Tom (M)

    Born in the wild (Africa) 01/01/1950
    Arrived at Wellington Zoo 30/11/1957
    Died at Wellington Zoo 07/02/1990

    Teddy (M)
    Born in the wild (Africa) 01/01/1952
    Arrived at Wellington Zoo 30/11/1957
    Sent to Melbourne Zoo 27/10/1966

    Mickey (M)
    Born in the wild (Africa) 01/01/1952
    Arrived at Wellington Zoo 30/11/1957
    Died at Wellington Zoo 01/01/1958

    Bobby (M)
    Born in the wild (Africa) 01/01/1954
    Arrived at Wellington Zoo 30/11/1957
    Fate Unknown
     
    Last edited: 10 Jan 2019
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  12. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Additional Information and Interpretations

    Breeding Success and Population Control:


    After experiencing phenomenal success with breeding chimpanzee at the zoo (one of the most successful zoo’s in the world at that time), there appears to have been an attempt to restrict breeding/control numbers around the mid 1960s - several chimpanzees were exported around this time, including 2.2 to Melbourne Zoo in 1966.

    Breena produced her first offspring, a female named Dorne, at the age of 8 in 1962; followed by the birth of her second offspring, a female named Stella, at the age of 11 in 1965. While Stella was sent to Adelaide Zoo in 1968; Breena and Dorne remained at the zoo until their deaths in 1974. What is curious here is that in the 9 years between the birth of her last offspring and her death, Breena never produced anymore offspring; while her daughter, Dorne, died at the age of 12 having never produced offspring (female chimpanzees are usually capable of reproducing by the age of 8).

    My guess is that mother and daughter, Breena and Dorne, were kept separately from the other chimpanzees in a pair from the mid 1960s onwards, to prevent overpopulation. It would not have been possible to separate Molly and her offspring from the group with this intention in mind as she had produced two sons (and would have bred with them), so Molly and her eldest son, then aged 6, were exported to Melbourne Zoo in 1966.

    Causes of Death:

    I don’t have information for the cause of death of any of these chimpanzees, but the dates may offer some clues. Breena and her daughter, Dorne, died within 3 days of each other in late June/early July. This is the coldest time of year in New Zealand, so it’s possible they died of pneumonia - a common cause of mortality in captive chimpanzees. This also feeds into my theory that Breena and Dorne were kept separately in a pair from the other chimpanzees during this time. Since no other chimpanzees at the zoo died around this time, it could suggest something affected their cage that didn’t affect the other cages i.e. their cage was more exposed to the elements; one of them caught a virus that was isolated in their cage and didn’t infect the other group/groups etc.

    The cause of Yoka’s death is more obvious as she died the same day she gave birth to male twins, her ninth and tenth offspring. It’s almost certain she died as a result of complications from the birth, which also claimed the life of one of the twins; the other was hand raised and died 6 weeks later.

    Influence of Tea-parties on Reproduction and Parenting:

    Wellington Zoo held chimpanzee tea parties until 1970. The original performers were Yoka, Molly and Breena, with their offspring replacing them as they grew older and proved difficult to control. While the first offspring of these females were mother raised, they were taken away by keepers for training and participation in the tea-parties for periods of time from a young age. With the babies returned to their mothers after an hour or so, and the mothers trusting the keepers they had formed a bond with; it’s not hard to imagine the mothers actually enjoyed being given a break.

    Yoka’s reproductive history may have been influenced by this. It’s interesting to note how short the birth intervals are between her first five offspring (born between 1960 and 1970). The birth interval for chimpanzees is typically 3-5 years. All Yoka’s birth intervals during this time were less than 3 years (in some cases closer to 2 years). Perhaps the weaning of each offspring was aided by the additional nutrition they would have received through the tea-parties? Yoka’s fifth offspring, Pan, was born at the end of 1970 (the year the tea-parties ended) and was solely mother raised. The age gap between his birth and Yoka’s next offspring was almost 4 years. After raising her next offspring, Jagger, who was exported before his second birthday; Yoka rejected her next offspring, Jodie and Jessie, and they were hand raised. Maybe Yoka thought motherhood was too much work, after receiving ‘help’ with her first few infants (apologies for my anthropomorphism here).

    Yoka’s Legacy:

    Yoka’s line is well represented in the region to this day. As well as her daughter, Jessie (born in 1978); her grandsons, Boyd (born to Bebe in 1978), Marty (born to Bebe in 1987) and Gombe (born to Jodie in 1993) are still alive today. Boyd and Marty have each sired many offspring; as did Yoka’s deceased grandson Snowy (born to Bebe in 1983), who has many descendants from his offspring born at Taronga Zoo during the 1990s.

    Name Meanings:

    Names of chimpanzee infants: Pat was named after St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, as he was born on St. Patrick’s Day; Bebe is a Swahili name meaning ‘baby’; Pan was named after the Latin name for his species Pan troglodytes; Jagger was named after Mick Jagger; Yoka’s last offspring all have ‘J’ names: Jagger, Jodie, Jessie and Jimmy.
     
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  13. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Photo (1963 Approx)

    There is a picture of Breena here:

    When the chimp stole the show

    The picture (aside from being of Breena) is nothing to do with the article and was not taken in 1961.

    I believe it was taken around 1963 and the chimpanzees are from left to right: Pat, Breena (nursing infant Dorne) and June.
     
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  14. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Current Troop

    Males:

    Alexis (1998) - Alpha male
    Marty (1987)
    Bakari (2012)
    Kitwe (2014)

    Females:

    Sally (1985) - Alpha female
    Jessie (1978)
    Cara (1981)
    Keza (1998)
    Samantha (1983)
    Malika (2010)

    Notes:

    Chimpanzees are listed in order of their ranking within their gender brackets (juveniles Bakari and Kitwe assume their mother’s ranking until they enter the hierarchy).

    All chimpanzees were born at Wellington Zoo except for Cara, Samantha and Sally, who were imported from Taronga Zoo in 1992.

    Cara is the mother of Alexis; Samantha is the mother of Keza and Malika; Sally is the mother of Bakari; Keza is the mother of Kitwe.
     
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  15. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Bebe

    Bebe (F)
    Born at Wellington Zoo 16/12/1962
    Died at Wellington Zoo 08/09/2003

    Bebe gave birth to seven offspring at Wellington Zoo:

    Peter (M)
    Born at Wellington Zoo 12/09/1971
    Sent to Bullen’s Animal World 31/12/1977

    Barney (M)
    Born at Wellington Zoo 14/02/1975
    Sent to Natureland Zoo 28/12/1978

    Bubs (F)
    Born at Wellington Zoo 03/09/1977
    Died at Wellington Zoo 06/02/1978

    Boyd (M)
    Born at Wellington Zoo 29/10/1978
    Sent to Monarto Zoo 26/08/2009

    Unnamed (M)
    Born at Wellington Zoo 13/06/1982
    Died at Wellington Zoo 13/06/1982

    Snowy (M)
    Born at Wellington Zoo 07/03/1983
    Sent to Taronga Zoo 27/11/1986

    Marty (M)
    Born at Wellington Zoo 28/01/1987
    Still at Wellington Zoo
     
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