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The Honolulu Zoo’s Pu‘iwa moved to Los Angeles Zoo as part of breeding program

Pū‘iwa at the Honolulu Zoo

O‘AHU – The Honolulu Zoo sent Pū‘iwa, the 22 year old male chimpanzee to the Los Angeles Zoo on Friday, February 18, 2022. He will play an important role as a participant of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) breeding program.

SSP breeding programs in zoos help to maximize genetic diversity, appropriately manage the demographic distribution and long-term sustainability of recommended animals to maintain a healthy and stable population for the long-term future. Pū‘iwa, who was born at the Honolulu Zoo on August 20, 1999, has been recommended to breed with a female chimpanzee at the Los Angeles Zoo to help sustain the population of chimpanzees in zoos. 

“This is a very significant and exciting opportunity for the Honolulu Zoo to loan one of our male chimps to the LA Zoo,” said Linda Santos, Honolulu Zoo director. “We are very fortunate to have Pū‘iwa safely transported to his new home, courtesy of Pacific Air Cargo, and we are hopeful that Pū‘iwa will fit into his new family troop and be a suitable mate. Pū‘iwa is a smart and playful chimp and all our keepers will miss him as they have thoroughly enjoyed watching him grow up at the Honolulu Zoo. Pū‘iwa has proven to be a quick learner and a valuable training model as animal staff have worked closely with him for operant conditioning—like learning how to voluntarily take injections or have blood drawn,” explained Santos.

Chimpanzees, a species of great ape are native to the forest and savannah of tropical Africa. They share 98.7 percent of DNA with humans, have an average height of around 5 feet. Their feet are adapted for grasping, with the big toe being opposable and they have the physical strength of around 1.5 times greater than humans. Chimps are highly adaptable and prefer fruit above all other food items, but are also known to consume insects, birds, and small mammals. 

Chimpanzees are listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

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