WICHITA, Kan (KAKE) – It’s the viral video you most likely saw across your social media feed at some point in the past 24 hours.
Emotional reunion of a mother chimpanzee and her newborn baby.
Mothers, in particular, relate strongly to the maternal instinct by watching that mother love her child.
The end that all Sedgwick County Zoo employees wanted was achieved, but the road there was a bit different.
“You never get to see animals act like that and see that intuition take hold. As soon as I saw it we all thought it was a gem captured on video,” says Dr. Heather Ahrens, a veterinarian at the Sedgwick County Zoo.
It’s an encounter that went viral and has been viewed more than 10 million times on social media platforms.
“It couldn’t be more emotional and that mom’s intuition, you don’t see that every day, or even with humans every day,” says Dr. Ahrens.
Evidence that maternal instinct transcends one species.
This emotional ending had a stressful start.
Knowing that Mahal’s mom was in labour, Sedgwick Park rangers noticed her labor had stopped progressing.
“Most of the time it’s normal, they have normal births and that’s what we hope. That’s our goal. But sometimes like humans, surgical intervention is needed.”
An OB-GYN was called on standby to perform an emergency C-section to save baby Kucheza.
“This allows us to focus on the mother and numb the mother and baby without worrying about them scrubbing,” says Dr. Ahrens.
After birth – Kochiza struggled to breathe and needed oxygen for about 48 hours.
The zoo’s medical staff say recovery will take days, but Kochiza responded immediately.
Back to this video and the mother and child reunion.
“That’s a huge sense of relief, it’s a win. Teamwork, everything comes together.”
Zoo staff tells us that since the video she just saw of Mahal picking up baby Kochiza, she hasn’t put him down yet.
Mahal and Kochiza will have two weeks to fully recover from the surgery before being reintroduced to their family.
After this introduction, the audience will get their first look.