BALTIMORE, MD – For a limited time, the Maryland Zoo will host a virtual encounter with the newest member of our chimpanzee troop, Maisie! Offered on Wednesdays & Thursdays at 11:30 am for the next few weeks, people will learn what extraordinary measures the Chimpanzee Forest Animal Care Team is taking to raise this baby chimp and what their goals are for introducing Maisie to a surrogate mother. Virtual tour participants can ask questions in real time about Maisie and the chimp troop, the care they receive, conservation efforts, and see Maisie in action!
“The Virtual Maisie Encounter is a unique opportunity for people to connect on a personal level with Maisie and some of the animal care professionals who are raising her for now,” said Kirby Fowler, president & CEO of The Maryland Zoo.
Maisie 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. “Taking care of Maisie is more time intensive than raising a human baby. A chimp mom carries her baby everywhere, which is why we wear a shirt or blanket that has fringe material sewn on so Maisie has to grip and stay attached to us,” stated Erin Grimm, mammal collection and conservation manager. “Chimps learn everything they need to know from the troop, so our team has to teach her how to be a little chimp until she is with her surrogate mom Abby, a proven surrogate mother who has helped raise several other baby chimps.”
The Zoo is home to fifteen chimpanzees, including 17-month-old Lola and almost one-year-old Violet. “Once Maisie is integrated into the troop she will have two companions to play with, which is also essential to her development,” continued Grimm. “We are happy to open up these Virtual Maisie Encounters so people can learn what we are doing to help this little one become a solid part of the troop.”
The Virtual Maisie Encounter costs $39 per device for non-members and $29 for members, with all proceeds going directly to support animal care. “The chimp animal care has been with Maisie 24/7 since she arrived,” stated Fowler. “Every dollar we raise helps support our continuing efforts on behalf of Maisie and her care team.”