Endangered bonobo celebrates his first birthday at Twycross Zoo

Upendi turned one on January 16th. Credit: Twycross Zoo

A bonobo, a type of great ape, has celebrated his first birthday at Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire.

Upendi is the first baby of the species to be born in the UK since 2019.

He was born at Twycross Zoo on Sunday 16 January 2022 to Cheka, his 25-year-old mother.

His name was inspired by a love song from The Lion King II, and ‘Upendo’ which means love in Swahili.

Keepers at Twycross Zoo said, to celebrate his first birthday, Upendi enjoyed food hidden in puzzles, to encourage foraging, as bonobos do in the wild.

Amanda Addison, Team Manager for Apes at Twycross Zoo, said: “It’s been twelve months since we welcomed Upendi into the world and he has truly stolen the hearts of visitors and staff alike.

"Upendi’s birthday is more than just special snacks.

"Conservation and education are at the forefront of what we do here at Twycross Zoo and it is crucial that we continue to work collaboratively with zoos across the world in order to prevent endangered species, including the bonobo, from becoming extinct.”

Upendi is the only bonobo to be welcomed into the UK since 2019. Credit: Twycross Zoo

Facts about bonobos:

A bonobo is an endangered great ape, similar to the common chimpanzee but more slender.

There are less than 50,000 total population in the wild.

There is still lots to be found out about the endangered species as it is the last great ape to be discovered.

Bonobos share almost one hundred per cent (98.7%) of their DNA with humans. It makes them our closest living relatives, along with chimpanzees.

Twycross Zoo is home to 13 bonobos and the UK's only baby of the species.