Johannesburg - Orphaned by bushmeat hunters who killed her parents in South Sudan, Nina the chimpanzee was also destined for the pot, had she not been rescued.
Instead, on Wednesday morning she became a cyberspace celebrity when she gave birth live on the internet, with the event captured by a webcam mounted over her enclosure at the Jane Goodall Institute South Africa, a rescue sanctuary in Mpumalanga.
The pregnancy was a surprise to the entire staff because as a rescue sanctuary, they have a strict non-breeding policy as they want to reserve space for all the animals they rescue.
However, the birth control implant inserted under Nina’s skin failed and she fell pregnant. The news that Nina was to become a mother was, however, received with much excitement because she herself did not have a normal childhood. She was shunted from one place to the next, finally ending up in South Africa.
David Oosthuizen, the institute’s executive director, confirmed the birth, at about 7.28am, went smoothly and was over quickly. “We are not interfering and won’t go and take the baby. We want them to form a bond,” Oosthuizen said.
The baby boy has not been named yet and Oosthuizen said they would name him after 30 days. The reason was that even though the baby was doing well, lots could still go wrong and they wanted to focus on its well-being right now and focus on the name later.
The institute had put a webcam in Nina’s enclosure and more than half a million people logged on to Chimp Eden’s Nina Cam over the past few days, hoping to watch her give birth.