After a gestation period of about eight months, Nia, 14, gave birth to a baby girl at 10:17 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 12 at the zoo’s great ape habitat.
The primate caretakers have named the baby Kiazi (key-azee). “Kiazi” is Swahili for potato, or root crop.
“The OKC Zoo is committed to caring for Kiazi through assisted rearing with the ultimate goal of reuniting her with our chimpanzees,” said Tracey Dolphin, OKC Zoo’s primate curator. “Kiazi will be “rooted” in her family troop and will be reintegrated when she is old enough with the help of our proven surrogate chimp mom, Kito.”
As the zoo prepared for Kiazi’s arrival, caretakers trained Nia to voluntarily receive ultrasounds and to start training another chimp, Kito, to become a surrogate if needed.
According to the OKC Zoo, Nia has not been displaying the appropriate maternal behaviors towards her baby. The zoo’s veterinary and primate care teams have stepped in to make the necessary decisions to assist. Kito has been a foster parent in the past and has recently served as a surrogate to a young male chimp, Ruben.
With the addition of Kiazi, the OKC Zoo takes care of seven other chimpanzees.