Meet Capri the baby chimpanzee, who is the star attraction at Rockhampton Zoo.
She is the first chimp to be born in Queensland in 40 years and zoo visitor numbers almost tripled* in the weeks after she was born, compared to the same time last year.
New photos have been taken of Capri playing with her mother, Leakey, who helped name her baby recently.
The adorable primate* is not quite four months old and after her birth on February 12 the zoo ran a competition to name her. More than 600 entries were sent in from around the world.
Zookeepers chose a shortlist of five names — Ada, Bella, Capri, Jandy and Ohana — and made five smoothies for Leakey with a number printed on each cup. Five numbered envelopes contained the short-listed names. Leakey chose a cup with a number that corresponded* to the name Capri.
There were several similar nominations*, including Capricorn and Capricornia, which Rockhampton deputy mayor Cherie Rutherford said were popular because the city of Rockhampton is in a region called Capricorn and is just north of a line on maps called the Tropic of Capricorn.
Capri’s father is called Alon. He and Capri’s mother, Leakey, both came to Rockhampton from Israel.
Rockhampton Zoo’s Graeme Strachan said zookeepers were pleased it was Leakey who had a baby chimp first out of all the females at the zoo as she had seen chimp babies born before in Israel, so would have some idea how to look after a newborn. Her behaviour would in turn teach other female chimps at Rockhampton zoo what to do.
Mr Strachan said Capri’s birth was an amazing achievement and the result of many years of preparation by the zoo.
“Any day a new chimpanzee comes into the world, it’s got to be a good day,” Mr Strachan said.
“There’s so many problems going on in Africa for the chimpanzees with rainforest destruction that unfortunately a lot of their future relies on breeding programs.”
MEET HUMANS’ CLOSEST LIVING RELATIVE
- Chimpanzees share 98 per cent of human DNA, which is the information in our genes that makes us look and be the way we are.
- Their hands are like humans hands, in that their thumb is opposite their fingers.
- Chimps are omnivores*, like humans. They eat meat, fruit, vegetables, eggs and insects. Their favourite food are figs.
- They are extremely social and live in family groups within bigger groups (like villages) of up to 100 chimps.
- They’re great at swinging through trees and walking on all fours but can also walk upright if they want to.
- Chimps are one of the few species that can use tools. They use stones to open nuts, sticks to poke insects out of nests and leaves to soak up drinking water.
- One chimp, Washoe, learned American Sign Language, which has a vocabulary* of 350 words.
- They’re closely related to the bonobo, which is found south of the Congo River in Africa. There are four subspecies* of chimpanzees, which all live in the wild north of the Congo River.
- Chimps can be very aggressive. Groups of males sometimes attack other chimps and humans have been attacked.
- Jane Goodall is a British scientist who is the world’s expert on chimpanzees. She spent a long time in the jungle with chimpanzees and got to know many of them very well. There are many books and documentaries about her work you may like to read and watch.
- Chimpanzees are endangered*, because of damage to their natural environment, disease and hunting.
- tripled: three times as many
- primate: 16 families of species including humans, gorillas, orang-utans, monkeys and chimpanzees
- corresponded: matched
- nominations: suggestions
- omnivores: eat meat and plants
- sup-species: a group within a species
- vocabulary: the words in a language
- endangered: at risk of extinction
LISTEN TO TODAY’S STORY
- What is Capri’s mother’s name?
- How many entries were there in the competition?
- Why was it good that Leakey was the first chimp at the zoo to have a baby?
- What makes chimps’ hands like ours?
- Who is Jane Goodall?
1. Food, Tools, Movement
Fold a sheet of paper into three sections and write these headings at the top of each section: Food; Tools; Movement. Under each of these headings sketch a picture of what you know about this aspect of a chimpanzee’s life. Write a sentence to go with each sketch.
Look at a picture of a chimpanzee and a picture of a bonobo. Write a list of all of the things you notice that they both have in common with humans.
Time: Allow 15 minutes
Curriculum links: English, Science
After reading the article, with a partner, highlight as many connectives as you can find in pink. Discuss if these are being used as conjunctions, or to join ideas and create flow.
QUESTION: What else, in addition to breeding programs in zoos, can we do to help save chimpanzees?
Do not use one-word answers. Explain your ideas and use lots of adjectives.