Archive: Female Chimpanzee Born at Detroit Zoo on World Chimpanzee Day

Baby named in honor of chimpanzee advocate Dr. Jane Goodall

July 14, 2018

ROYAL OAK, Mich., 

A female chimpanzee was born shortly after midnight on Saturday, July 14, 2018, at the Detroit Zoo’s Great Apes of Harambee. The baby, named Jane, arrived in the early hours of the first World Chimpanzee Day, recognizing the day in 1960 English primatologist and anthropologist Dr. Jane Goodall first traveled to what is now Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania to study the social interactions of wild chimpanzees.

“For nearly six decades, Dr. Jane Goodall has been a passionate advocate for chimpanzees, and we are honored to name this little one after her on the auspicious occasion of the first World Chimpanzee Day,” said Scott Carter, chief life sciences officer for the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS). “We cannot think of a better way to recognize Dr. Goodall’s important work and bring awareness to the conservation of chimpanzees in the wild and their well-being in human care.”

Jane – estimated to weigh around 4 pounds – is the second baby born to mother, Abby, 35, and the fourth in 10 years for father, Imara, 22, who also sired daughters Zuhura, 4, and Akira, 6, as well as son Ajua, 9. Abby also gave birth to daughter Chiana, 24, at the Detroit Zoo.

Animal care staff report that mother and baby are doing well and bonding behind the scenes at the chimpanzees’ habitat. “Even though it has been 24 years since the birth of Abby’s daughter, Chiana, mom clearly has not lost her excellent parenting skills,” Carter said. Staff estimate the baby will be visible to Detroit Zoo visitors at the Great Apes of Harambee within a couple of weeks. The 4-acre indoor-outdoor habitat is home to 11 chimpanzees and three western lowland gorillas.

Jane’s birth is the result of a recommendation from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan, a cooperative population management and conservation program for endangered and threatened species. Chimpanzees are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to habitat loss, disease, fragmented populations and illegal wildlife trafficking.