TAMPA (FOX 13) - A five-month old orphaned chimpanzee is going to be spending more one-on-one time with her new mother.
"Keeva" was brought to Lowry Park Zoo in March to be paired up with "Abby," a 32-year-old female chimp known for her ability to care and foster infant chimpanzees.
The process of introducing the two, though, takes time. At first, a team of specialists provided round-the-clock care for little Keeva. Earlier this month, Keeva and Abby were introduced, getting to know each other inside the chimp den and outside, zoo officials said.
Now, Abby and Keeva will be spending even more time together to establish a bond. Zoo keepers will be observing the pair around the clock to make sure they're getting along and watching for behaviors that will confirm they're developing a strong bond.
The goal is for Keeva to be fully integrated with the other adult females, "Twiggy" and "Jamie," who will assume roles of playmate or aunt. Keeva will also eventually meet "Bahati," the zoo's adult male chimp, and once all chimps are living together, the family will be complete.
"The process of integrating a baby chimp into a social group is neither easy nor quick. Introductions move slowly, one step at a time, one animal at a time," zoo officials say.