Voting has opened in a public poll to name a rare baby chimpanzee at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s Edinburgh Zoo.
One of the wildlife conservation charity’s patrons put together a shortlist of names inspired by the Budongo forest area of Uganda, where RZSS supports conservation efforts for the species in the wild.
Born on Monday 3 February to mum Heleen, the baby girl is only the second chimpanzee born in Scotland for over 20 years.
Donald Gow, Edinburgh Zoo’s Budongo Trail team leader, said, “One of our patrons has chosen four beautiful names for our new arrival, Sonso, Waisoke, Siba and Masindi. The first three are streams in the Budongo forest and the last is the nearest town. We can’t wait to see which name the public chooses.”
“Conservation is at the heart of what we do and it is fantastic to see our chimpanzee troop helping to raise awareness of the threats their species face in the wild.”
As well as being part of the European Endangered Species breeding programme, RZSS has funded vital conservation efforts for chimpanzees in the Budongo forest in Uganda since 2005. Supported by RZSS, the Budongo Conservation Field Station (BCFS) combines research and practical action to ensure sustainable management and use of the Budongo Forest Reserve where there are currently over 430 chimpanzees being monitored across eight sites.
The BCFS team also work with local communities to dissuade hunters from setting bush meat snares in the forest, in which the chimps regularly get caught or injured. As part of this scheme they provide the ex-hunters with goat breeding pairs to start an alternative source of livelihood that is not dependent on forest resources.
This work is made possible thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
For more information on the RZSS patron scheme, please visit rzss.org.uk/patrons.