BALTIMORE, MD – The Maryland Zoo is welcoming 21-year-old Alex the chimpanzee, joining The Maryland Zoo troop from the Potawatomi Zoo in South Bend, Indiana. Alex arrived in early April based on a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Chimpanzee Species Survival Plan (SSP) and recently completed a standard 30-day quarantine.
During the quarantine period, Alex was able to see and hear the other chimpanzees in Chimpanzee Forest. Last week, he began one-on-one introductions and he will be slowly introduced to the troop of 11, including three other males and eight females ranging in age from 12- to 47-years-old.
“Alex came from a very small troop in Indiana. He lived there with two females,” said Pam Carter, Chimpanzee Forest Area Manager at the Zoo. “Since The Maryland Zoo has a much larger, dynamic troop, his introduction process will be strategic and unhurried. We monitor behaviors and reactions very closely. Our hope is that over time he’ll grow confident and comfortable around everyone, and settle into the troop.”
Chimpanzees (P. troglodytes) are classified as endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List. One of the greatest threats to wild chimpanzees is loss of their African forest habitat due to commercial logging, agriculture and fires. Poaching and disease also put the wild population at risk.
The Maryland Zoo chimpanzee troop can be found in the Zoo’s Chimpanzee Forest. Meet the keepers and ask all your chimp questions during the Chimpanzee Keeper Chats, which are offered on most Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, at 2:30 p.m. For additional information on chimps, click here.