Ginger, 42, is unexpectedly expecting. (Courtesy: Chimp Haven)
New mom: Flora and new female baby chimp (Courtesy: Chimp Haven)
KEITHVILLE, LA (KSLA) -
News release from Chimp Haven:
Nearly two weeks after Flora, a 29-year-old former research chimpanzee at Chimp Haven, unexpectedly delivered a healthy baby female chimpanzee, the sanctuary announces the impending birth of yet another chimpanzee to 42-year-old Ginger.
What makes this news particularly provocative is that Chimp Haven, a 200-acre wooded facility in Northwest Louisiana for chimpanzees primarily, is a retirement community. So, all of its males are vasectomized.
Pregnancy tests were given to the females in Flora's group after she delivered her baby. All were negative, except Ginger's. To be certain that the urine test was accurate, Chimp Haven's veterinarian, Dr. Raven Jackson, conducted an ultrasound examination last Friday. She says, "The fetus appears to be between 11 and 12 weeks. The average gestation for a chimpanzee baby is 237 days; so, we anticipate that Ginger will be delivering her baby around the fourth week in July."
"Clearly, we need to solve the mystery of who the father or fathers could be as soon as possible," explains Chimp Haven President, Dr. Linda Brent. "We will be completing paternity testing by comparing DNA from all of the potential dads with that of Flora's new baby. Of course, we cannot determine the paternity of Ginger's baby until it is born." The best possible scenario in this situation would be that only one male needs to be re-vasectomized. Until the father or fathers are known and the failed vasectomy addressed, all of the females in the group will be kept on birth control pills.
"We take every precaution to prevent pregnancies at Chimp Haven, but nature has a way of occasionally prevailing over the best efforts of science and medicine," explains Brent. "But when nature wins out, it is our responsibility and pleasure to give those newborns the best life possible at our sanctuary. They will be loved by the chimpanzees and care givers alike and will have the freedom to live very much like wild chimpanzees in the wooded habitats at Chimp Haven."
Chimp Haven, The National Chimpanzee Sanctuary, is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to provide a permanent retirement sanctuary for chimpanzees no longer used for biomedical research, entertainment, or as pets.More>>