Curiosities - Information
The show of a birth
Maybe this was what was missing in my life with chimpanzees: the birth of a baby chimpanzee, a wonderful show.
Samantha practically waited for me to give birth to her baby beside me and with my help. It was Friday, June 10, close to 9am. I had opened the door to Guga enter at Samantha’s enclosure so he could spend the day with her and Sofia, their daughter. I entered behind him.
Samantha and Sofia were in the enclosure beside and we were looking for them. Samantha appeared in the access door and was in a hurry. Something was happening. Guga greeted her, observed her ass and continued his way looking for Sofia. Samantha came to me; stop for a minute and I saw in her face the contractions of the imminent delivery. The pain began to disturb her and she was looking for a place to lie down. I went with her and she lay down in the external net, with her face down. The contractions were harder, she was groaning and I ran to warn the keepers who were cleaning the enclosures.
When I came back the delivery was beginning. The head of the baby was partially out and she was grabbing it with one hand. I touched her with affection, to comfort her due to the pain she must have been feeling, but in less than one minute the baby was out. And one minute later the umbilical cord and the placenta were also out. She was hugging the baby and cleaned the amniotic liquid, which bathed the baby for nine months, with her tongue. Sofia was trying to understand what was happening; she was not expecting that baby. She tried to lick the baby like her mom, but she did not allow. I grabbed Sofia, a 2-year-old hipper active baby, so her mother could do all the cleaning procedures. The baby yelled and Sofia was more curious.
Samantha grabbed the baby and went to show it to the keepers and the vets who were observing by far and were registering in video the unexpected event. Then she came back to the open enclosure, maybe looking for Guga, the father of the baby, whom we had put in a separate area of the enclosure just for precaution. Then she took a piece of fabric and wrapped the baby, but the placenta and the cord were hanged.
Samantha showed the same problems of the two previous births. She did not know how to carry the baby, put her near her chest, cut the cord and eat the placenta, which other mothers do very quickly. Sofia was following her everywhere. The story was happening again. She came back to the bedroom, wrapped the baby and let her on the floor. If Sofia or I tried to get her, she reacted and did not let us do it. From the window Guga was asking to enter to help, but we did not want to risk.
After four hours, Samantha was not taking the baby yet and we decided to get her to cut the cord, warm and feed her, because it was a cold morning. All the efforts we made in the previous months to inspire Samantha to take care of the baby did not work. I tend to believe that she believes that it works like that: she gives birth to the baby, gave it to us and one year later we give it back healthy and already feeding alone. To avoid the need of giving Samantha anesthetics, I opened all the halls and rooms so she could circulate and I was able to keep the baby. This was exactly what happened.
The same happened with Sofia, today a 2-year-old chimpanzee, and Sara, one year younger.
Suzi arrived at this world healthy and very smart. She is feeding very and we have already taken her to Samantha, so she could see and touch her. But the story repeats and maybe this was her last delivery, because we lost the hope that we could change her lack of interest to take and feed the baby, as long as she denies doing that. Maybe because the same happened to her: she was taken out of her mother, Ditty, a few hours after she was born, to be raised by humans.
Participating of the birth of a baby chimpanzee is an extraordinary experience, which few people have the opportunity to enjoy. After watching a quick, clean and perfect birth, of a 12-year-old chimpanzee, I believe, more than ever, that condemning these beings to a miserable and unworthy live is a defect of the human feelings.
WELCOME, SUZI, A SUPER ADOPTIVE GRAND-DAUGHTER!
Dr. Pedro A. Ynterian
President, GAP Project International