The Johannesburg zoo�s super mum

It is not only humans who look after their offspring, super mum Daisy, the Johannesburg Zoo�s Chimpanzee has been very busy nurturing her babies for almost 20 years. Not bad for a mother whose oldest son Yoda is ready to take charge of the group and whose youngest son Charles is still being taught about the social graces of being a chimp , such as learning not to steal food from the other members in the group.

Daisy has 4 children which were all born at the Johannesburg Zoo. She gave birth to Yoda a male in June 1992 when she was just 9 years old. She later gave birth to a female Zoe in 1995 and another female Joyce in 2003, Charles the youngest male who is still very reliant on Daisy for care was born in 2006.

Chimpanzee mothers are extremely protective of their young and Daisy is no exception. She is very close to her 2 daughters and protective over Charles. She keeps an eye on Charles as he gets up to mischief and is ready to protect her young when a scuffle breaks out in the enclosure. Her caring nature can be viewed as she hugs her children and checks that they are all in their nightrooms before she enters.

Zoe has started helping her mum take care of Charles, she allows him to get onto her back and even shares her food with him, Joyce is a real mummy�s baby, and is never far from her. She waits for her mother before leaving the nightrooms and they can often be seen holding each other with their arms around each others shoulders. Charles is playful, mischievous and a handful! He still sleeps next to Daisy, gets piggy-back rides and demands constant attention.

Female Chimpanzees� generally give birth for the first time at ages 10 to 11 years old, however Chimpanzees� in captivity give birth at around 8 to 9 years. Newborn Chimpanzees� are helpless and require support from their mothers. Females will spend most of their time with their offspring, often grooming and playing with them. They are socialized and shown the correct way of doing things, what to eat and what may cause them harm. Chimpanzee mothers develop strong bonds with their young and stay with them well into adulthood.

Let us honour all mothers this mothers day.

Prepared Razina Pandor and issued by Letta Madlala Brand and Communications Manager on behalf of the Johannesburg Zoo. END.

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