February 16

One of BIOPARC Valencia's two chimpanzee babies dies

The calf born at the beginning of the month has died and the technical team of the Valencian park is providing maximum tranquility to the chimpanzees in their natural period of "mourning." It is a very cohesive group, now focused on maintaining the optimal development of the other “baby” who will soon reach one month of age, supported by the presence of little 4-year-old Djibril.

Although the data reveal a high mortality in chimpanzee offspring of such a young age, this is a devastating fact. This is a species where social ties and group cohesion are fundamental, so all members are affected by these sad events. They need a period of “grieving” and little by little they accept reality and the loss, although the mother may still need time to even let go of the inert body. The technical team is very affected and only the vigor of the first calf that will soon reach its first month of life and is growing very satisfactorily, as well as the presence and games of little 4-year-old Djibril, provide them with the necessary encouragement at this time.

Since birth just 14 days ago, the monitoring protocol was activated with greater intensity In this case, Natalia, the mother, had already lost a calf in 2018. Contact was established with the group of international experts and, in addition to direct observation, detailed videos and photographs have been intensively used to verify whether the breeding was was producing correctly. The udders had little volume, but the nipples and the act of suckling of the calf showed feeding. The baby has shown normal activity until the previous day, moment in which the very limited intervention possible in these circumstances was carried out and which has not managed to prevent the fatal outcome.

The female chimpanzee Natalia at BIOPARC Valencia

The BIOPARCs of Fuengirola and Valencia house the largest group of chimpanzees of the subspecies in Spain. Pan troglodytes verus, critically endangered according to the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and have a prominent role in the European program for its protection (EEP). In that sense, decisions must be made by consensus with the people responsible for the project and taking into account the difficulties and characteristics of this peculiar species. Despite the feeling of helplessness, the reality is that the action only makes it possible to provide medication, since taking the calf from the mother would imply a very dangerous anesthesia for several members of the group and put the lives of the two newborns at serious risk.

It should be emphasized that the animals housed in centers like BIOPARC are not pets nor are they domesticated. The objective is the preservation of the species, providing them with maximum well-being and, at the same time, favoring their behavior and natural instinct.. In this sense, it is necessary to assume the most tragic part, no matter how heartbreaking it may be for people. Now efforts are focused on providing as much peace as possible to the group, with the certainty that they have already overcome similar situations. And also the excitement of seeing the little ones grow up knowing that They represent hope for the survival of their species.

Chimpanzees in the equatorial jungle of BIOPARC Valencia

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