Memphis Zoo Welcomes Baby Bonobo

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Photo courtesy of the Memphis Zoo

(Memphis) The Memphis Zoo announced Tuesday that a bonobo was born on May 12 — Mother’s Day – to parents Kiri and Mofana

The sex of the baby isn’t known yet, but will be determined in the coming weeks.

“We are excited about this birth,” Matt Thompson, director of Animal Programs, said. “This is a species that needs a lot of help, so every birth is significant.”

The bonobos, with their matriarchal society, do not usually appreciate outside interference, so the zoo’s staff is giving the bonobo group time and space to care for its new addition.

The females will all play a part in raising the baby, which will be carried for the first two years of his or her life.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies bonobos as endangered.

“Bonobos are still very rare in the wild and in captivity,” Thompson said. “They are a high conservation priority, and Mo and Kiri are a good genetic match.”

Visitors can now see the baby bonobo on exhibit, across from the hippo exhibit.

The baby’s mother, Kiri, was born in the San Diego Zoo and came to Memphis when the bonobo exhibit opened in 2003. Father Mofana was born at the Wilhelma Zoo in Stuttgart, Germany, and also arrived in Memphis in 2003.

This is the zoo’s second successful bonobo birth.

For more information and updates about the baby, visit the Memphis Zoo’s website and Facebook page.