The best part of being a parent, whether to an animal or a child, is seeing your little one’s progress. At the Zoo Knoxville, the caretakers experienced that joy firsthand with their chimpanzee baby, Stevie.
Relative to other mammals, chimpanzees and humans are fragile as infants. Some animals can walk the moment they are born, and even adorable puppies have sharp teeth to protect themselves.
On the other hand, baby chimpanzees and humans can barely crawl when they are born. Because of that, it is even more important to be attentive throughout their growing process.
That makes the reward of watching their progression that much more exciting for the humans that are taking care of them. You can hear the excitement of Stevie’s caretakers in this short update.
In the video, Stevie had just turned 10 weeks old. “Major changes have been happening in the last few weeks,” said Melissa McGee, the curator of great apes and mammals at the Zoo Knoxville.
Over the past few weeks, Stevie became more independent and began practicing crawling and turning over. “We are still caring for her twenty-four-seven,” said McGee. “However, we are able to put her down for some independent play.”
McGee and the other staff members were confident that Stevie would be ready to integrate with the other chimps soon. “Sometimes she’ll purse her lips and hoot back,” said McGee. “It’s really precious to see she’s already trying to communicate with them like that.”