Chimpanzees are our closest cousins—we share about 98% of our genes. Infant chimps, like humans, need affection, care, and play. So when this baby chimp was abandoned by his mother in 2019, he found comfort in a cuddly plush monkey, and it’s melting hearts around the internet.

Unfortunately, sometimes mothers abandon their children and when this happened to Djibril at a zoo in Malaga, Spain, he had to learn to survive on his own. His mother, Kika, who was rescued from abusive owners at a circus, had never learnt any maternal skills and left her offspring at birth. Keepers had to find another chimp that would raise him as her own among his peers and give him what humans would never be able to give. This story took a happy turn when the animal park BIOPARK Valencia, which ensures animal well-being and comfort by providing them environments close to their natural habitat, rehomed the little one with an adoptive mother, Eva.

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The baby chimp was rejected by his mother in Malaga’s zoo

Image credits: bioparcvalencia

Image credits: bioparcvalencia

Keepers had to be stand-in parents for the little one while searching for an adoptive mother who would raise him as her own

Image credits: bioparcvalencia

Until then, he found comfort in a cuddly plush monkey

Image credits: bioparcvalencia

Image credits: bioparcvalencia

Image credits: bioparcvalencia

Image credits: bioparcvalencia

Image credits: bioparcvalencia

Image credits: bioparcvalencia

Image credits: bioparcvalencia

At 16 months old, Djibril has found a new family in an animal park in Valencia

Image credits: bioparcvalencia

Djibril was introduced to the new environment of BIOPARK Valencia in July of 2019 and had to undergo an uneasy adaptation process. Initially, he was supposed to find an adoptive mother in Malin, who showed no interest in the baby. Luckily, another great ape from the group, Eva, took Djibril under her wing by showing protection and care despite never having had the experience of motherhood. Djibril’s survival instinct and Eva’s maternal instinct brought them together despite all odds, and a year after his arrival at the park, Djibril can now enjoy a new family.

Image credits: bioparcvalencia

Image credits: bioparcvalencia

Image credits: bioparcvalencia

Image credits: bioparcvalencia

Baby Djibril is a key to his subspecies

Image credits: bioparcvalencia

Little Djibril plays an important role to a critically endangered and the only subspecies among chimpanzees, the western chimpanzee. According to WWF, the species is threatened with extinction in its natural environment—chimps have already disappeared completely from four countries and are under tremendous pressure everywhere else they live. The collaboration between BIOPARC Fuengirola and Valencia in finding Djibril an adoptive family will contribute to preserving this subspecies.

Image credits: bioparcvalencia

Image credits: bioparcvalencia