UPDATE : See new videos of baby chimp
22 February 2013
NELSPRUIT - The birth of a tiny chimpanzee boy at the Jane Goodall Institution Chimpanzee Eden outside Nelspruit made international history as it was the first chimp birth in captivity to be broadcasted live.
Now, almost a month later, it is time to give that little boy a name, and the public is to be part of the naming process.
NELSPRUIT - For a month thousands of viewers globally have been glued to their computer screens, watching the antics of a bush meat baby-turned-mother chimpanzee and her infant son.
And now the time has come to give that little chimp a name, and the public will be part of the entire naming process, making the baby part of families across the world.
The unnamed baby and his mother, teenage chimpanzee Nina, made international waves and also history when she fell pregnant despite contraceptive precautions. The uncomplicated birth process was filmed live and thousands of viewers globally saw how the youngster took his first breath, without any human assistance.
Nina was captured by bush-meat hunters when she herself was only a few days old. After a traumatic first few years she was eventually rescued and found a safe haven at the Jane Goodall Institution (JGI) Chimpanzee Eden outside town.
Here at Chimp Eden she flourished and was gradually rehabilitated into one of the three existing "family" groups at the institution. To initial dismay the nine-year-old chimp fell pregnant - defying odds and contraception. And just as with a human family, excitement mounted as her cute belly grew.
The Nina Cam was turned off this week, leaving many upset viewers in its wake. "It was like Nina and her baby had become part of my daily routine," said Nelspruiter
Ms Zelda van Rooyen. "And now I kind of feel bereft as I can't see what the two of them are up to anymore," she laughed.
On JGI's Facebook page members of the public have taken ownership of the little one. Ms Margaret Fitzpatrick commented, "How lovely for Nina that this precious little one was born.... he is absolutely adorable and she is being allowed to fulfil her maternal instincts. It's just good news all round." The chimps did not only steal female hearts but also tugged at some paternal strings.
Mr Robbie Vaughn commented the following after watching one of the touching video clips on Facebook, "Made my day... so adorable. Now I would like for someone to have you on video while you're trying to get the baby to talk..."
Mr Phillip Cronjé, JGI Chimp Eden sanctuary manager explained the reason that the cam was off was because Nina and the youngster had started their meticulous and systematic reintroduction phase.
"Nina and the little one are doing great and the little boy is healthy and drinking well. I spoilt Nina with peanut butter which I put in holes in a old log and she needs to then fish it out like they do with termites."
In the meantime suspense is building to see what the little one will be named. On Saturday some names will be made available for people to vote on.
"We will make some names available that we have selected from a list supplied by our keepers and the public," confirmed Mr David Devo Oosthuizen, JGI executive director.
"We will make this available as part of a naming competition where the public will vote - we will share details as such on the web and Facebook pages. Thereafter we will announce the winning one (probably about a week thereafter)."
A special baby chimp virtual-adoption package will also be made available during this time that people can subscribe to.
The baby was born on January 23, 2013 at 07:28 South African time.