Baby Chimp Keeva Gets New Surrogate Mother After Biological Mom Couldn't 'Properly Care For Her'

Her biological mother couldn't "properly care for her," zoo staff said.

May 06, 2015, 8:29 PM

— -- A baby chimpanzee named Keeva is now getting a new surrogate chimp mother after her biological mother was unable to properly care for her.

Originally born at The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore this past March, baby Keeva has now been moved to the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Florida. There, she will be joining a chimp troop comprised of three females and one male.

Keeva will soon be introduced to her new mama, Abby, a 32-year-old female chimpanzee who's raised two other orphaned chimps from infancy and contributed to the care of a third.

“We know Abby has the instincts and skills to raise a baby chimp – she has been successful twice before," Lowery Park Zoo general curator Lee Ann Rottman said. We have every reason to believe that she will raise Keeva as her own, when given the opportunity."

Keeva's biological mother Carole, 27, will remain in Baltimore with The Maryland Zoo chimp troop.

Though the Keeva's birth went smoothly, "it soon became apparent that Carole was not adapting to motherhood appropriately and we made the difficult decision to remove and hand-rear the baby while searching for a suitable home with a nurturing surrogate," The Maryland Zoo general curator Mike McClure said.

PHOTO: Baby chimpanzee Keeva, who was born at The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore in March of 2015, is pictured here.
Baby chimpanzee Keeva, who was born at The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore in March of 2015, is pictured here.
Maryland Zoo

Both zoo's staff are working together to make sure the transition process goes smoothly for Keeva.

"It is so important for chimpanzees to be raised by chimps and not by humans," Rottman said. "It’s a huge responsibility but it's one we all feel is very important."

PHOTO: Baby chimpanzee Keeva, who was born at The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore in March of 2015, is pictured here.
Baby chimpanzee Keeva, who was born at The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore in March of 2015, is pictured here.
Maryland Zoo

Keeva, who was born around St. Patrick's Day this year was given her name for its Gaelic meaning -- gentle, beautiful and precious.

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