Nationwide Breeding Program

Wild chimpanzees at Bossou, West Africa

The presence of infant chimpanzees is well known to increase interactions in a social group with a variety of behavioral patterns occurring among group members. In other words, youngsters can play an important role in enhancing the quality of life for our chimpanzees in captivity.

Chimpanzee Sanctuary Uto (CSU), the predecessor of Kumamoto Sanctuary (KS), was established as the first sanctuary for retired laboratory chimpanzees in Japan on April 1st, 2007. There were 79 chimpanzees living at CSU then. The total numbers of these individuals at CSU consisted almost the quarter of total chimpanzees living in Japan.

Koyuki, a nulliparous female, carefully watches a twin on the belly of Sango, ex-CSU chimpanzee mother.

A nationwide relocation/breeding and re-socialization program was launched that would also revitalize social interaction among captive chimpanzees in our zoos. This program also guaranteed a lifelong security for chimpanzees living at CSU - that is independent of biomedical laboratories. Furthermore, this project also helps to maintain genetic diversity in our captive chimpanzee population in Japan.

In the spring of 2009, three infants were born at two zoos. A female named Sango gave birth to twins at the Noichi Zoological Park, Kochi. Another female named Miki had a male infant born at the Asa Zoo in Hiroshima. In February 2013 a new infant was born at the Kyoto City Zoo. In sum, there are six chimpanzees infants born of chimpanzees relocated from KS/CSU.

The presence of these new babies, along with their mothers gives a great deal of opportunity for several nulliparous females living in their groups to observe and learn maternal care, as well as to learn new communication skills with the infants. Additionally, this relocation program gives a great opportunity to share care-related techniques, provide expert advice by the KS staff having over 30 years of experience in chimpanzee care to zoos involved in the program.

Miki gave birth to Haru at the Asa Zoo.

Kazumi gave birth to Riki
at the Nagoya Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

Sachiko gave birth to Fuku
at the Zoorasia Yokohama Zoological Gardens.

Koiko gave birth an infant at the Kyoto City Zoo.