Zoo Knoxville announces first chimpanzee pregnancy in 13 years

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Zoo Knoxville is preparing to welcome its first baby chimpanzee since 2007.

Zoo Knoxville announced Monday that Jambo, a 14-year-old member of the zoo’s chimpanzee troop, is pregnant with her first baby. The baby is due in late December to early January.

“Our team has an excellent care and birthing plan in place,” said Lisa New, President and CEO of Zoo Knoxville.  “We are making sure Jambo has the best prenatal care for a healthy pregnancy and are excited to plan for the arrival of Knoxville’s first chimpanzee baby in 13 years.  I think we all could use some happy news to start off 2021.”

Zoo staff have trained her to allow ultrasound imaging to monitor the health of the baby. Jambo will be under the care of the vet team from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.

Jambo came to Zoo Knoxville from the Maryland Zoo in 2018. She was introduced to the troop on the recommendation of the Chimpanzee Species Survival Plan, a collaborative effort of zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums working to save chimps from extinction. 

Chimpanzees are highly endangered. According to a release from Zoo Knoxville, an estimated 1-2 million chimpanzees lived in twenty-five countries in Africa in 1920. Today, there are as few as 350,000 wild chimpanzees on the entire continent. 

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