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WARNING: Baby cuteness alert at Zoo

On May 11, three sandcat kittens were born (reported by the Zoo on June 2). Then on May 20, it was a baby giraffe (story in the May 31 edition of Randolph Hub). And on May 21, in full view of zoo visitors, Gigi gave birth to her first child, a male chimpanzee in the habitat.


The sandcats were born to first-time mother Sahara, 3, and father Cosmo, 9. The sex of the kittens were not known yet, but the Zoo plans to offer a public naming poll for the kittens soon on its social media channels and website.


The trio are beginning to explore their surroundings in the Desert Habitat. Though they appear adorable with big ears, eyes, and petite frame, looks can be deceiving. Zookeep-ers are quick to tell you they are wild, ferocious animals that should never be kept as pets. These small and mighty hunters kill venomous snakes in the desert. They are the only cats to live exclusively in desert environments. 


Gigi and her baby are doing well, and the baby appears healthy, active and nursing. Chimps are very protective of their young, and mothers hold the infants exclusively to their chest until about four months of age; only then are they allowed on the ground to begin exploring. The most recent chimp births were male Obi and female Asha in 2019, who are now rambunctious toddlers. 



This is the sixth chimp birth at the North Carolina Zoo since 2010, making the Zoo currently the most successful Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) zoo for breeding chimps. With the new baby, the Zoo’s troop now consists of 16 chimpanzees: Females Gigi, Amy, Ebi, Gari, Genie, Gerre, Ruby, Tammy and Asha, and males Jonathan, Lance, Sokoto, Kendall, Gus and Obi and the new infant