Breeding plan for Chimpanzees on the anvil, Ravi

Breeding plan for Chimpanzees on the anvil, Ravi

Reproduction of primates in captivity is a challenge

Breeding plan for Chimpanzees on the anvil, Ravi

Primate breeding is a good sign for any zoo. If primates are not breeding, it is a cause for concern. Mysore Zoo will soon come up with a breeding plan to ensure successful reproduction of chimpanzees, said executive director of Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, B P Ravi here on Tuesday.

He was speaking in the backdrop of primatologist Hilda Tresz’s visit to the zoo. Hilda, manager of applied behaviour at Phoenix Zoo in the USA, will be observing the five chimpanzees at the zoo and will assist the authorities in developing a breeding plan. Chimpanzees are among the endangered animals in the world, with their numbers rapidly declining — owing largely to habitat loss.

The zoo currently has two females Ganga and Mirella and three males Vaali, Guru and Mason.

After her preliminary inspections, Hilda ruled out the possibility of Ganga reproducing, as the chimp was too old.

However, zoo authorities have pinned their hopes on Mirella. She is paired with Mason.
Explaining why Mirella has not bred, Hilda said, chimpanzees learn intercourse by looking at other chimps in the wild. “Since Mirella was born in captivity, she has not learned about intercourse,” observed Hilda.

Techniques

Ravi said, the authorities have been trying several techniques to make chimpanzees reproduce, but to no avail. As compared to reproduction of other animals, say tiger, primate reproduction in captivity is a challenge, he said.

When asked why reproduction of chimps has not been successful after 1984 in Mysore Zoo, Hilda described the similarity between chimps and humans to be ‘extreme’ and ‘spooky’.

Teach

“Like humans, you cannot make them like each other. In zoos, it is only possible to make them tolerate each other, like inmates of a prison,” she said.

Apart from delivering talks at the zoo, Hilda Tresz will study the chimpanzees till March 29, after which she will depart to the zoo in Delhi, to conduct studies on chimpanzees again.

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