We are so excited to announce the birth of a new baby in the Kokoalongo bonobo group! Scientists from the Max Planck Institute who have been observing the bonobos report that the little one was born between December 29th and January 2nd. Bonobo mothers hold their babies very closely during the first weeks of life, so researchers have not yet been able to determine the infant’s sex. Mother Madonna and baby both appear to be doing well.
Bonobos only reproduce once every four or five years because baby bonobos are not weaned or able to fend for themselves until then. This slow rate of replacement is one of the many reasons that the bonobo population is in decline, and also the reason that each and every bonobo birth is cause for celebration.
This new baby joins six other infants born within the last few months in the Kokolopori bonobo research groups. In the Ekalala group, Peche gave birth to the newly named Pistache. In Bekako, Zambezi welcomed Zeya. In Kokoalongo, we were introduced to Abba, Falco, Piaf, and Curtis. We use naming themes for each group: colors for Ekalakala, rivers for Bekako and Fekako, and musicians for Kokoloango. Mothers and offspring have names that begin with the same letter. Since Madonna is the new mother, we are deciding amongst musicians starting with the letter M for the baby’s name. If you have any favorites, let us know!