At the Zoo
Wellington Zoo is home to a troop of 10 Chimpanzees, which is one of the largest in Australasia.
These great apes form incredibly strong family bonds, and our Chimpanzees get the majority of their stimulation through interacting with other members of the troop.
Chimpanzees are roughly six times as strong as humans and highly intelligent. They can recognise themselves in a mirror, they have the ability to learn sign language, and are one of the few mammals that manufacture and use tools. Jessie, our matriarch female, loves to paint, and her artwork is on display outside the Chimp Park.
Our youngest Chimpanzee, Kitwe, was born in 2014 to first-time mother Keza. He was named by Dr. Jane Goodall DBE, after an area south of Gombe that was once stripped of trees and is now a lovely forest – ‘proof of the resilience of nature’.
Our Chimpanzees are the most expensive animal at the Zoo to feed ($800 per week), as the group gets over 32kg of food per day. This amounts to 6.5kg of fruit, 9.5kg of vegetables, 12kg of leafy greens, 4.7kg of specialised primate pellets and additional meat, treats and seeds.
You can spot our clever and cheeky Chimps enjoying their lunch at the daily Chimpanzee Talk. Check out our Talk Times here.
In the wild
Chimpanzees are extremely adaptable and dwell in a wide range of environments throughout Central and East Africa. Sadly, primary threats to their survival include habitat destruction and poaching for the bush meat and pet trades.
In 2014 a group of Wellington Zoo staff became founding members of the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) of New Zealand. JGI works to protect Chimpanzees and other primates by supporting sanctuaries, law enforcement efforts to reduce illegal trafficking, and public education to protect these endangered apes in the wild.
Source: Wellington Zoo