Royal Oak (WWJ) – The Detroit Zoo’s newest top banana is sure to have mass a-peel. Akira, an adorable female chimpanzee born July 28, 2011, is charming Zoo staff and visitors alike at the Great Apes of Harambee. She is the second baby born to mother, Akati, 24, and father, Imara, 16, in three years; her brother, Ajua, was born in September 2008.
“Akati and Akira are creating a strong mother-daughter bond, and it’s a lot of fun to watch the two of them interacting with the other chimps,” said Detroit Zoological Society Curator of Mammals Robert Lessnau.
Akira can be spotted clinging to Akati as she carries her around the Great Apes of Harambee. Visitors can catch the duo swinging on ropes and climbing trees outdoors on sunny days and hanging out in the habitat’s spacious dayrooms during inclement weather.
The Great Apes of Harambee is a four-acre habitat that houses chimpanzees, Western lowland gorillas and drills. The primates spend their days foraging, grooming and playing, just as they would in their native African environment.
The chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) is an endangered species, threatened by habitat loss and hunting for bushmeat. Akira’s birth is the result of a recommendation from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan, a cooperative population management and conservation program for selected species. There are 268 chimpanzees in 33 AZA-accredited zoos in the United States, and Akira is one of only three babies born this year.
To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Michigan first responders – police officers, fire fighters and emergency medical technicians – and a guest will receive free admission to the Detroit Zoo on Sunday, Sept. 11.