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BALTIMORE, MD – Help to name the newest female chimpanzee baby at The Maryland Zoo! The little one was born in August at the Oklahoma City Zoo and is being hand-raised at The Maryland Zoo with the intention to introduce her to a surrogate mom, chimp Abby, when she has achieved age-appropriate milestones such as being able to stand on her own, cling to the habitat mesh, and crawl.

The infant chimp arrived at the Zoo in late September and is being cared for by the Chimp Forest animal care team who work in three shifts around the clock to provide her constant care. She drinks baby formula every three hours, sleeps, and has playtime each day to help strengthen her muscles. The team member providing care also wears a shirt or blanket that has fringe material sewn on that helps the baby learn to grip.

The chimp baby will bring the Maryland Zoo’s chimpanzee troop up to fifteen, which includes one-year-old Lola and ten-month-old Violet. As this new baby is integrated into the troop, she will have these two as companions to play with, which is essential to her development as a member of the troop. But she needs a name! The Chimpanzee Forest animal care team came up with the names that they feel embody this very special chimpanzee baby:

  • Asha — An Indian name with multiple meanings. It means ‘hope’ in Sanskrit and ‘alive’ in Swahili. You can also connect this name to the ash tree, a tree of high, spiritual importance to the Norse and Celtic people.
  • Nyota (pronounced Nee-oh-tah) – Swahili for star.
  • Maisie — girl’s name of Scottish origin meaning “pearl”.
  • Tulia –– Swahili for calm and quiet.
  • Olivia — Means olive, which also stands for peace.

Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) are classified as endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List. One of the greatest threats to the wild chimpanzees is loss of habitat, the African forest, from commercial logging, agriculture and fires. Poaching and disease also put the wild population at risk.

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