Sedgwick County Zoo staff share story behind viral video of chimp’s birth
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - It's the viral video you've likely seen come across your social media feed at some point in the past 24 hours.
The emotional reunion of a mother chimp and her newborn baby.
Mothers, especially, are relating to the power of a mother's instinct watching this mama love her baby.
The ending all Sedgwick County Zoo staff wanted was achieved, but the path to getting there was a little different.
“You never get to see animals behave like that and to see that intuition take hold. Once I saw that we all thought it was a gem we caught on video,” says Dr. Heather Arens, a veterinarian at the Sedgwick County Zoo.
It's a reunion that's gone viral, viewed more than 10 million times on social media platforms.
“It could not have been more emotional and that mother's intuition, you don't see that every day, or even with humans every day,” says Dr. Arens.
Proof that a mother's instinct goes beyond one species.
This emotional ending had a stressful beginning.
Knowing mom Mahale was in labor, Sedgwick County zookeepers noticed her labor stopped progressing.
“Most of the time it's natural, they have natural births and it's what we hope for. That's our goal. But sometimes like humans there needs to be surgical intervention.”
The OB-GYN on standby was called in to perform an emergency C-section to save baby Kucheza.
“It allows us to focus on mom and the anesthesia of mom and baby without worrying about scrubbed in for surgery,” says Dr. Arens.
After birth - Kucheza struggled to breathe and needed oxygen for about 48 hours.
Zoo medical staff say normally that recovery would take days, but Kucheza responded immediately.
Leading back to this video and the reunion of mom and baby.
“This is a huge feel good, it's a win. teamwork, everything coming together.”
Zoo staff tells us that since the video you just saw of Mahale picking up baby Kucheza, she has yet to put him down.
Mahale and Kucheza will get a couple of weeks to fully recover from surgery before being re-introduced to their family.
After that introduction, the public will get their first glance.