Kenya Named New Home of Iran's Only Baby Chimpanzee

  • A picture of Baran at the Eram Zoo in Tehran
    A picture of Baran at the Eram Zoo in Tehran
    Anadolu Agency
  • The only baby chimpanzee in Iran has been relocated to a chimpanzee care center in Kenya. This follows a months-long campaign over suitable conditions at Eram Zoo - located in the Iranian capital, Tehran. 

    Eram zoo, which is the main wildlife center in Tehran, noted that a decision was made to transfer the four-year-old Baran to the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Kenya, which provides refuge to rescued, orphaned or abused young chimps.

    The head of Eram Zoo Parviz Qandali stated that they had contacted several animal care centers and finally they settled in Kenya where they thought Baran would live in a better environment among her peers.

    Baran at the Chimpanzee Care Centre, Kenya
    Baran at the Chimpanzee Care Centre, Kenya
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    Baran was born prematurely in 2017 at the Eram zoo. Her mother wasn’t able to fully bond with her when she was a bit older. She wasn’t accepted by the other chimpanzees. After her mother died, Baran was moved into a cage for her own protection.

    The campaign's efforts were fueled by concerns over the welfare of Baran as she did not have any other chimpanzees to socialize with. 

    These can potentially be harmful to both mental and physical development according to Imam Memarian, a veterinary officer at Eram Zoo.

    Baby Chimpanzees should spend at least five years with their mothers, according to vet experts, but Baran was deprived of that as her mother showed aggressive behaviour towards her. 

    According to zoo workers, being caged alone was for her protection but it only led to the deterioration of her health.

    Online campaigns were launched in August 2020 to save Baran. Environmentalists and celebrities in Iran feared for her death in these conditions. 

    "These highly intelligent, social beings need to live in groups, but in Iran there is no suitable group for her," read one of the petitions in August 2020. "Being alone is the worst nightmare for this social and intelligent animal."

    The average life expectancy for a chimpanzee is 40 years according to a report by Kyoto University published on October 3, 2019.

    Baran will now be in quarantine for 90 days, a period set by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and with 24-hour veterinary support.

    Baran enjoys a fruit at the Chimpanzee Care Centre
    Baran enjoys a fruit at the Chimpanzee Care Centre
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