Orphaned Baby Chimp Has New Mom at Detroit Zoo

June 26, 2020
Baby Zane

Courtesy Detroit Zoological Society

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What an adoption story! And it happened at the Detroit Zoo.

Baby Zane has a new adoptive mom after his birth mom rejected him following health issues.

For twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week,for five months the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) animal care staff hand-reared baby Zane before they successfully transitioned his care to an adoptive chimpanzee mom in June.

“It’s a story of great dedication,” said Scott Carter, chief life sciences officer for the Detroit Zoological Society. “Nights, weekends and through a pandemic —Detroit Zoo primate staff cared for the baby chimpanzee around the clock. And now it’s a very heartwarming story of a baby who has found a devoted, adoptive chimp mom and family.”

Baby Zane was born on January 7, 2020, to Chiana, 26, who is also the mother of 6-year-old Zuhura. But soon after Zane’s birth, Chiana became very ill and was unable to care for her newborn. Chiana was treated by veterinarians and recovered, but after she recovered, she showed no interest in caring for her little son. The Detroit Zoo’s primate care staff stepped in to give Zane 24-hour care, which included carrying him constantly, as a mother chimp would, and teaching him to take milk from a bottle.

Over the five months, Zane lived in the Great Apes of Harambee building instead of a nursery so he could be around the other chimpanzees. During this time, the chimpanzees could see him up close through the mesh of their enclosure. 

They clearly took to the chimp, making the adoption possible.

JJ & JoAnne talked to Scott about the amazing story.

You can check out Baby Zane and mom Trixi at the Great Apes of Harambee at the Detroit Zoo.