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Viral video shows chimpanzee mom holding newborn baby for first time after nearly 2-day separation

A zoo-cam footage of a mother chimpanzee named Mahale is making the rounds on the internet. The video from the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas, shows Mahale reunited with Kucheza, her baby boy, after her emergency C-section.

Everyone loves a good reunion video. Whether it’s a video of a serviceman coming home to surprise his family, a long-distance couple showing up at each other’s doorsteps, or a missing dog finally returning to its owner, reunion videos always leave us happy and warm. They almost always leave us teary-eyed and wanting to share in their happiness.

The emotional reunion has struck a chord in everyone, from the zoo staff to people who have watched the video from the Sedgwick County Zoo’s official Facebook page

Mahale inspects a bundle of blankets in her enclosure.


In the video, you can see Mahale entering the enclosure, clutching a blanket and thinking she’s the only one there. She notices the nest of blankets and appears curious about it but pays it no mind.

A few moments later, there’s a bit of movement from the blankets, and a tiny baby chimpanzee’s hand stretches outward.

Seeing that familiar hand awakens something in Mahale, and she immediately reaches out to pick up Kucheza, a Swahili word that means ‘play.’

Baby Kucheza stretches out his arm and Mahale realizes who it is.


She engulfs him in a fierce and protective hug, looking like any mother sick with longing and worry and finally reuniting with her little one. Mahale rocks him gently as the zoo keepers cheer her on while crying happy tears.

According to Jennica King, the Sedgwick County Zoo communications director, it’s one of the most powerful things she has ever seen. Mahale clearly knew that it was her baby lying on the blankets. Once she saw the tiny hand, relief and love overwhelmed her.

Mahale gave birth to Kucheza on November 15, 2022, through an emergency C-section. She had been in labor for too long, so the doctors decided to proceed with the surgery.

Mahale envelopes her baby in a hug.


However, little Kucheza was having trouble breathing, so he had to be taken by the veterinary team for further observations while Mahale went back to her enclosure.

After 48 hours, baby Kucheza got the okay to return to the enclosure. But Mahale could only see him through a mesh screen until the zoo keepers felt it was safe for them to be together again.

Ever since their emotional reunion, Mahale and Kucheza have been inseparable. They’re both doing great and are enjoying their ‘babymoon.’

After a prolonged labor, doctors decided to do an emergency C-section on Mahale.


Mahale is a very doting mother who often multi-tasks like a pro. She eats while Kucheza nurses. Her milk supply remained strong and wasn’t affected by the emergency C-section or her separation from her newborn.

The heartwarming reunion video has already racked up over 30,000 comments from people who were touched by the mother chimpanzee’s reaction.

As expected, it resonated with mothers, who know that inexplicable rush of love and protective instinct when you see your baby for the first time.

Messages of thanks and appreciation for the dedicated keepers of the Sedgwick County Zoo and the Wichita doctors also came pouring in.

Moreover, the zoo took this opportunity to spread awareness and share how people can help the chimpanzee population. Chimpanzees in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums receive the highest level of care to meet their physical, social, and emotional needs.

Kucheza being monitored because of difficulty breathing.


Mahale and baby Kucheza are proof that chimpanzees are some of the most amazing, charismatic, and intelligent animals on the planet. And they need our help! Small actions like using only paper products or recycling old cell phones can help chimpanzees in the wild.

You can find more information about how you can make a difference by visiting the Sedgwick County Zoo website. Stay updated with photos and videos of Mahale and Kucheza on the Sedgwick County Zoo’s official Facebook Page.

If you want more heartwarming animal reunion stories like this, check out this story of a stolen dog who gets reunited with its best friend, or this story of two circus elephants who reunited after 22 years apart. Meanwhile, watch the full video of Mahale and Kucheza’s reunion below!

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