NEW ORLEANS — After two unexpected pregnancies at a sanctuary for retired research chimpanzees, other females have been put on birth control and the males are getting another round of vasectomies.
The first recent pregnancy at the Chimp Haven Inc. facility near Shreveport in northwest Louisiana was discovered on Valentine's Day when a worker noticed Flora, a 29-year-old chimp, was carrying a newborn.
Chimpanzees like to carry things around, and the worker thought at first that Flora was holding a stuffed animal. Then she saw a tiny foot, the sanctuary's director, Linda Brent, said Monday.
The birth was definitely a surprise. Every male gets a vasectomy before being sent to Chimp Haven because there's a surplus of captive chimpanzees.
"All the males in the group have been vasectomized. Two of them have been vasectomized twice," Brent said.
One of those snipped twice was Conan after he was identified as the father of a baby born in January 2007. Another chimpanzee got the operation a second time because records seemed "a little bit questionable," Brent said.
Following the birth this month, the other seven females in Flora's group were given pregnancy tests. An ultrasound Friday confirmed 49-year-old Ginger was pregnant and due in late July or early August, Brent said.�