Chimp Cherri’s Twins Named Thelma and Louise, TWO new ‘surprise’ additions have been welcomed at Monkey World ape rescue centre.
Newborn twin chimpanzees Thelma & Louise were born to mum Cherri last week.
Park director Dr Alison Cronin said: “We knew that Cherri was pregnant but twins were a surprise as they are not very common.”
That wasn’t the only surprise element to the story – Cherri had been on birth control but a course of antibiotics for a chest infection last winter caused them to fail.
A spokesman at the Wool primate centre explained: “As the park’s birth control ‘outlaws’, the twin girls were aptly named after the famous movie fugitives.
The twins’ dad is the park’s dominant male chimpanzee, Hananya, who was rescued after being smuggled from the wild into Israel for the illegal pet trade.
Chimpanzees are not deliberately bred at Monkey World. Female chimps are routinely given birth control to avoid overpopulation at the park.
However, this is not the first time Cherri’s birth control has failed. The primate, who was smuggled out of Africa to be used as a photographer’s prop in Spain, became a young mum under similar circumstances more than a decade ago.
Park staff have been keeping a close eye on Cherri, now in her early 20s, and her tiny twins.
They’ll be dependent on her for at least the next four or five years.
Dr Cronin said: “Cherri makes sure that both babies are placed near to her breasts so that both infants have a good opportunity to feed.
“It is fantastic to see her doing so well, especially as chimpanzees use their hands and feet to walk and climb.
“But Cherri is very conscious to help support the two infants, so her hands are full even when she is climbing up our 20 metre climbing frames.”
Dr Cronin also said it was nice to see how the whole chimpanzee group had come together, with all of them showing interest in the babies.