The “who’s your daddy?” mystery involving five male chimps at a Louisiana chimp reserve has grown by one after a second female chimp was discovered pregnant.
Officials at the Chimp Haven National Chimpanzee Sanctuary announced Monday that Ginger, a 42-year-old chimp, is pregnant. This discovery comes two weeks after Flora, a 29-year-old chimp in Ginger’s group, unexpectedly delivered a baby girl on Valentine’s Day.
While a chimp giving birth usually isn’t big news, it is at Chimp Haven, a 200-acre wooded facility in Northwest Louisiana where chimps go to retire. And for male chimps, that means undergoing a vasectomy so the community remains a retirement community.
After Flora’s surprise delivery, all the female chimps in her group, Ginger included, were given pregnancy tests. Ginger’s was the only test to come back positive and an ultrasound confirmed Friday that she is due in late July or early August, sanctuary officials said.
"Clearly, we need to solve the mystery of who the father or fathers could be as soon as possible," Chimp Haven president Dr. Linda Brent said in a statement. "We will be completing paternity testing by comparing DNA from all of the potential dads with that of Flora's new baby.”
For now all female chimps in Flora and Ginger’s group have been put on birth control pills, Dr. Brent confirmed.
Sanctuary officials said at the time of Flora’s delivery that they had narrowed down the father possibilities to five male chimps, Conan, Jimoh, Magnum, Mason and Merv.
Adding to the mystery is that Conan already had a second vasectomy five years ago after the surprise birth of his now five-year-old daughter, Tracy. And Mason, who died last month, now could become a father – twice -- beyond the grave.
“Of course, we cannot determine the paternity of Ginger's baby until it is born,” Dr. Brent said. “We take every precaution to prevent pregnancies at Chimp Haven, but nature has a way of occasionally prevailing over the best efforts of science and medicine.”
The sanctuary has opened an online poll on its website to determine the name of Flora’s baby.