What's new at Basel Zoo

Benga the chimpanzee gave birth to a daughter on 13 August. Benga is an experienced mother and is taking really good care of little Qisenge.

The birth went smoothly and only lasted a few minutes, as is normal for chimpanzees. The little one has been named Qisenge. Every year, Basel Zoo uses a different first letter for the names of the animals born there. This year, the letter is Q – quite a challenging letter for names!

Qisenge is Benga's (40) seventh child, and her older sister Lazima (5) also lives at Basel Zoo. Now that Qisenge has been born, Lazima will learn two of the most valuable lessons for a chimpanzee: how to be independent of her mother and – by observing Benga – how to care for and raise young. These life lessons will help her when she has children herself.

Lazima’s older sister Garissa (10) also learned the same lessons by watching her mother, and Garissa has now been a mother for a year. From the very first day, she took exemplary care of Ponima (1), just as she had learned from her mother.

Qisenges father is very probably Kume (16), but with another young male in the group that could also potentially be her father, Fahamu (11), only a paternity test will tell for definite. Apart from the chimpanzees already mentioned, the other members in the 14-strong group are: Colebe (14), Obaye (2), Jacky (52), Fifi (26), Kitoko (26), Obuasi (2) and Benga’s sister, Xindra (44).

Basel Zoo is home to the western chimpanzee subspecies Pan troglodytes verus, which can be found in the wild in west Africa and is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN. The main issues facing this species are hunting and loss of habitat.