A pregnant chimpanzee has adopted an orphaned baby at Monarto Zoo in Adelaide.

This behaviour has never been observed in pregnant chimps before, as a chimp named Zombi, who is expecting her own little one, adopted Boon the baby after its mother Soona died while giving birth.

But Soona’s baby is safe and healthy thanks to Zombi, who is now caring for the baby chimp.

Laura Hanley, senior primate keeper at the zoo said she is not aware that the behaviour of the chimps at the zoo has been seen elsewhere, with one chimp taking on the role of surrogate so close to the birth of her own.

“I’m humbled by what we’ve seen from the chimpanzee troop over the last few days – it’s unheard of to see a heavily pregnant chimpanzee adopt an orphaned newborn infant,” she said.

“The unique situation certainly reinforces the strong bond our chimps share and the similarities these amazing creatures have with their closest living relative, us,” Dr Hanley said. 

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The Zoo also posted to their facebook page about the survival of orphaned Boon.

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