Mother Elikya and Father Kanzi
Teco is the first child for both parents.
â€œWhile Elikya was attended by human and bonobo friends during the birth, the young bonobo mother made it clear she did not require assistance,â€ said William Fields, director of scientific research at Great Ape Trust. â€œElikya has seen many babies born during her early years and she seemed to know just what to do. She delivered the baby entirely on her own with no complications.â€
“Teco” stands for Townsend Engineering Company, a Des Moines-based manufacturing company once owned by Great Ape Trust Founder, Ted Townsend. Over the years, Townsend Engineering employees donated nearly $200,000 to Great Ape Trust.
This is the first birth at Great Ape Trust since the bonobos arrived from the Language Research Center at Georgia State University five years ago. There are now three generations of bonobos at The Trust. Matata, the 40-year-old matriarch of the bonobo family is the mother of Elikya and the grandmother of Teco.
Fields says Teco will be reared by his mother Elikya, the other members of the bonobo family and Great Ape Trust scientists and caretakers. He added that Tecoâ€™s birth is significant for two reasons: preservation of an endangered species and non-invasive scientific study.
â€œIn terms of science, the importance of this bonobo birth cannot be overstated. Teco represents the future of 40 years of research which offers us the opportunity to explore the ratcheting effect of culture in nonhumans and the effects of culture upon the genome, epigenome, and transcriptome,â€œ Fields said.
The birth of a bonobo is a rare occurrence. There are only some 150 in captivity worldwide with about half of those in the United States. In the wild, the bonobo population is estimated between 20,000 and 50,000. Bonobos are found only in the Democratic Republic of Congo where their numbers have dwindled due to habitat loss and poaching for the bushmeat trade.
Please check out this Great Ape Trust page to view videos of some of their primates.