Julie Chimpanzee Departing for Albuquerque’s Rio Grande Zoo

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Julie Chimpanzee Departing for Albuquerque’s Rio Grande Zoo

Posted: 12/11/2009
Julie, a 23-year-old member of Knoxville Zoo's chimpanzee troupe, will be relocating to the Rio Grande Zoo, located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, early in 2010.

The move is a recommendation of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), the program that manages the placement of chimpanzees in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Julie will be joining two males and six females in Albuquerque as part of a social management plan. The move also reflects the normal social changes that would occur in chimpanzee groups in the wild, where it is common for female chimps to move to new social groups as they reach maturity.

A deciding factor in the decision to relocate Julie to the Rio Grande Zoo was her disruptive relationship with the alpha male in Knoxville's chimpanzee troupe, Jimbo. Jimbo came to Knoxville in 2006 as part of an SSP breeding recommendation; in 2008, he fathered the zoo's one-year-old chimp George, who lives at Knoxville Zoo with his mother Daisy. The zoo also hopes he will father offspring with two other females, Debbie and Jackie. 
 
"Unfortunately, Julie never would accept the presence of Jimbo as the alpha male, which disrupted the balance of the entire group," says Lisa New, director of animal collections at Knoxville Zoo. "Although we hate to see Julie go, it's the right thing for her, the right thing for the rest of the group, and what would be a natural occurrence in the wild." 
 
New expects Julie to adjust well to her new group; several of the chimps she will meet in Albuquerque are young, which should suit Julie well. "Julie loves youngsters, and she's smart and socially savvy," says New. "We want what's best for Julie, and have every expectation that she will thrive in her new surroundings. But if it doesn't work out for any reason, she will always have a home here in Knoxville." Knoxville Zoo is located off exit 392 from Interstate 40 and is open every day except Christmas Day. The zoo is nationally accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and is committed to the highest standards in animal care and well-being, ethics, conservation, and education. Currently, the zoo is open every day from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission and ticket sales stop one hour before the zoo closes. Next-day admission is free after 3 p.m. For more information, please call 865.637.5331 ext. 300.

Knoxville Zoo is located off exit 392 from Interstate 40 and is open every day except Christmas Day.The zoo is nationally accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is committed tothe highest standards in animal care and well-being, ethics, conservation, and education. Currently, thezoo is open everyday from 9:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Admission and ticket sales stop one-hour before thezoo closes. Next-day admission is free after 3:00 p.m. For more information, please call 865-637-5331ext. 300 or visit www.knoxville-zoo.org