Chimp champs

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By XIN­HUA in Taiyuan

In­fant chim­panzees aban­doned by their moth­ers at birth get a sec­ond chance at life thanks to car­ing “man­nies” at the Taiyuan Zoo.

Zhu Xiangbo car­ried the baby in his arms, touch­ing her head gently with one hand, as he used the other to put a feed­ing bot­tle to her mouth. The lit­tle cu­tie looked up at him, purs­ing her lips slightly.

“She is fawn­ing, re­quest­ing a kiss,” Zhu said, also smil­ing. Zhu’ s baby is a chim­panzee. At Taiyuan Zoo in North China’s Shanxi prov­ince, Zhu, 30, and his three male col­leagues are play­ing mom to a fe­male chimp de­serted by her mother soon af­ter she was born in­May.

The chimp is yet to be named. “Lo­cal me­dia have sug­gested so­lic­it­ing a name from the pub­lic,” Zhu said.

As the chimp turned 6-months-old on Wed­nes­day, they were de­lighted to find she had reached 4 kilo­grams.

“It’s four times the weight when­she was born,” Zhu­said.

It was the mother’s first baby and af­ter the de­liv­ery, the mother, Laoqi, re­fused to even touch the baby.

“We tried sev­eral times to have Laoqi ac­cept the baby, but failed,” so the keep­ers have be­come the chimp’s “man­nies”, said Zhao Jing, 40, an­other keeper.

The man­nies used in­for­ma­tion they found on the in­ter­net to help them raise the chimp.

The most im­por­tant task is to feed her. They took turns to feed her ev­ery three hours at the be­gin­ning, in­clud­ing dis­in­fect­ing milk bot­tles, mix­ing the milk pow­der, and feed­ing and burp­ing her.

“We had to be cau­tious about the wa­ter tem­per­a­ture. She would be scalded if it was too hot, and suf­fer from di­ar­rhea if it was too cold,” Zhu said. “Some­times it took more than 40 min­utes to feed her, as she of­ten did not co­op­er­ate.”

“Al­though we are all fa­thers our­selves, we never took care of ourown­chil­dren so metic­u­lously,” he said. “She is now able to crawl and soon she will be able to walk.”

In ad­di­tion to sleep­ing for 12 hours per day, she spends most of her time play­ing alone. To keep her com­pany, the man­nies got her a toy bear. “She likes it very much and of­ten kisses it,” Zhu said.

Over the past months, the man­nies have grown fa­mil­iar with the chimp, fig­ur­ing out her needs based on her dif­fer­ent cries, chuck­les and ges­tures. And she likes them.

“Hear­ing our foot­steps, she gets ex­cited,” he said.

The fer­til­ity rate for chim­panzees is not high in China and the man­nies have not given up try­ing to form a bond be­tween the chimp and her birth mother.

“We are try­ing to es­tab­lish their eye con­tact first and then phys­i­cal con­tact,” Zhu said. “We hope to re­turn her to her fam­ily when she can fit in.”

WEI LIANG / CHINA NEWS SER­VICE

A 6-month-old fe­male chimp is fed at Taiyuan Zoo in Shanxi prov­ince ear­lier this month. She was aban­doned by her mother soon af­ter she was born in May.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.