Help name Twycross Zoo’s baby bonobo

The public is being asked to name the new baby bonobo at Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire.


The healthy baby boy was born in February 2016 to 10-year-old first-time mum Kianga. The birth of this infant follows the arrival of Ndeko last year, and brings the zoo’s group of bonobos to 13 individuals.

In the wild, bonobos are only found in remote parts of rainforests in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in Central Africa. In honour of the great apes’ origins, the zoo’s keepers have proposed five names in Lingala, the local language:

Kasai – which is the name of the river which forms the southernmost boundary of the bonobo’s range. It is also the name of a province in DRC which covers part of the bonobo’s range

 Zamba – meaning “forest”

The Congo rainforest where bonobos live is second in size to the Amazon

 Mbuma – meaning “fruit”

Bonobos’ diets are predominantly fruit-based: they forage in small groups for fruit in the trees and on the forest floor

 Makasi – meaning “strong”

Bonobos are physically stronger than humans, and they also form strong social bonds within their group, particularly between mother and son

 Móko – meaning “one”

The new arrival is Kianga’s first baby


Anyone can place their vote on Twycross Zoo’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Voting is open until Monday 16 May, and the winning vote will be announced on social media.

Simon “Charlie” Childs, Great Apes Team Leader says, “It is very exciting to welcome a second baby to our bonobo group in such a short space of time.  Mum Kianga has a big personality and prior to becoming pregnant was a very playful individual who especially enjoyed interacting with our older youngsters Winton and Malaika. Since having her baby, she has become very close with the other mums whom she is often seen resting with or grooming.  The baby is not old enough to have left her side yet, but he is bright and curious and starting to become a wriggler as he takes in more of his environment.”

The species is endangered, with populations in the wild plummeting due to deforestation and hunting for bushmeat.  As well as safeguarding captive-bred populations and ensuring healthy genetic lines as part of endangered species zoo breeding programmes, Twycross Zoo also funds research and field conservation at Lola Ya Bonobo, a sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo which cares for orphaned and injured bonobos.


Photograph: Keith Roper


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