One of the last wild-born bonobos in the US gives birth at Columbus Zoo

POWELL, Ohio (WCMH) — The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium says Susie, one of the last wild-born bonobos living in the US, has given birth.

On Dec. 9, 2016, zoo officials say Susie gave birth to a female named Bertie. The mother and baby are healthy and are available to visitors on a rotating basis in the zoo’s Congo region.

Bertie is the 16th bonobo born at the Columbus Zoo and Susie’s fifth offspring. Zoo officials say that because Susie is one of the last wild-born bonobos in the US, her offspring offer valuable diversity to the bonobos in human care.

Bonobos are endangered and are the smallest and rarest great ape. They are also more closely related to humans than they are gorillas, sharing 98 percent of DNA with humans.

Susie came to Columbus more than 25 years ago as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan.

“Bonobos are only found in one region of the world and are facing severe threats,” said Audra Meinelt, assistant Curator of the Congo Expedition at the Columbus Zoo. “The Columbus Zoo has been a leader in bonobo husbandry and education for many hears and we are proud to help educate the public regarding their conservation.”

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