POWELL — The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a special home for bonobos, as it is one of only seven Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited facilities in the country to house this endangered great ape.
On Friday, Dec. 9, the Zoo welcomed one more into its family, when a female bonobo named Bertie was born. This birth is particularly special to conservation efforts because the mother, Susie, is one of two remaining wild-born bonobo living in the United States, and her offspring offer valuable diversity to the population of bonobos in human care.
Susie came to the Columbus Zoo in November 1990 from Limburg Zoo in Zwartberg, Belgium as part of recommendations from the AZA’s Species Survival Plan and the European Endangered Species Programme. The mother and baby are both doing well and will be available for public visitation on a rotating basis in the Zoo’s Congo region, which closes at 4 p.m. during the Wildlights season. Staff members will not know the identity of the father until a paternity test can be completed.
The first bonobos arrived at the Columbus Zoo in 1990. The latest newborn is the 16th bonobo to be born at the Columbus Zoo, which now houses a total of 18 bonobos. Bertie is Susie’s fifth offspring.