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Science

Zoo camera captures incredible moment mama chimp is reunited with her two-day-old baby

When Kucheza raised his little hand and Mahale realized he was there, everyone felt her joy.

chimpanzee, sedgwick county zoo

Kucheza was born by emergency C-section and had to be separated from mama Mahale for two days.

Thanks to our close evolutionary proximity and Jane Goodall's years of field research, humans have an intense fascination with chimpanzees. They are clearly not us, yet they are clearly similar to us in many ways, and a viral video from Sedgwick County Zoo beautifully highlights that connection.

Mahale is a 28-year-old chimpanzee who recently gave birth to a baby at Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas. According to KSAT News, her labor stalled, which necessitated an emergency C-section. As a result, Mahale and her baby were separated for two days while she started her recovery and her baby received oxygen.

Unlike humans, chimps don't have the language and cognitive abilities to understand what's happening in such a situation. It must have been a confusing experience for Mahale, who had already given birth to two babies prior, to find herself no longer pregnant but not having her baby with her.


So when the two were finally reunited, it was a moment to remember.

At first, Mahale doesn't appear to know her baby is there. Then he lifts up a tiny little hand and all her mama instincts kicked into high gear. Watch:

The sweet moment brought people to tears and quickly went viral. The way she scoops him right up? Every mama felt that.

The wee one was named Kucheza, which is Swahili for "play."

The keeper cam shows the two have been inseparable since then, cuddling, nursing and grooming as they enjoy their "babymoon" together.

"Mahale is THE MOST amazing mama," shared the zoo. "She hasn’t put baby down since she first picked him up yesterday morning and the two are IN LOVE.

The zoo has been posting regular updates on its Facebook page, with photos and videos of Kucheza and Mahale.

The reunion video has more than 30,000 comments from people who were moved by the mother's reaction to seeing her baby.

"Oh my goodness!! Sobbing!! The way she sees that little hand and rushes to hold her baby!! So beautiful!! Thank you for sharing," wrote one person.

"Aw man, I remember seeing my baby for the first time after waking up from an emergency c section," shared another. "I just started to cry and held him to my face. This is so sweet."

"Thanks so much to our dedicated keepers and staff for 48 hours of hard work to make this birth possible," wrote another. "We appreciate each of you so much. Also a heartfelt thank you to the Wichita doctors that attended to momma's surgery. We are blessed!"

The zoo has used the viral opportunity to share ways people can help the world's chimpanzee population.

"The whole world has fallen in love with Mahale and Kucheza, after catching a glimpse of their emotional reunion," the zoo shared on its Facebook page. "Chimpanzees in AZA-accredited institutions like Sedgwick County Zoo receive the highest level of care to meet their physical, emotional, and social needs - including the life-saving decision to deliver Kucheza via emergency C-section.

"All of the animals in our care serve as important ambassadors for their species. Mahale and Kucheza have reminded us all that chimpanzees are smart, charismatic, and amazing animals. And they need our help! Small actions - like recycling your old cell phones and using only sustainably-sourced (certified) palm oil and paper products - can help save chimpanzees like Mahale and Kucheza in the wild."

The Sedgwick County Zoo website shares ways people can make a difference in chimpanzee conservation here.

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The last thing children should have to worry about is where their next meal will come from. But the unfortunate reality is food insecurity is all too common in this country.

In an effort to help combat this pressing issue, KFC is teaming up with Blessings in a Backpack to provide nearly 70,000 meals to families in need and spread holiday cheer along the way.

The KFC Sharemobile, a holiday-edition charitable food truck, will be making stops at schools in Chicago, Orlando, and Houston in December to share KFC family meals and special gifts for a few select families to address specific needs identified by their respective schools.

These cities were chosen based on the high level of food insecurity present in their communities and hardships they’ve faced, such as a devastating hurricane season in Florida and an unprecedented winter storm in Houston. In 2021, five million children across the US lived in food-insecure households, according to the USDA.

“Sharing a meal with family or friends is a special part of the holidays,” said Nick Chavez, CMO of KFC U.S. “Alongside our franchisees, we wanted to make that possible for even more families this holiday season.”

KFC will also be making a donation to Blessings in a Backpack, a nonprofit that works to provide weekend meals to school-aged children across America who might otherwise go hungry.

“The generous donations from KFC could not have come at a better time, as these communities have been particularly hard-hit this year with rising food costs, inflation and various natural disasters,” Erin Kerr, the CEO of Blessings in a Backpack, told Upworthy. “Because of KFC’s support, we’re able to spread holiday cheer by donating meals for hunger-free weekends and meet each community’s needs,” Kerr said.

This isn’t the first time KFC has worked with Blessings in a Backpack. The fried chicken chain has partnered with the nonprofit for the last six years, donating nearly $1 million dollars. KFC employees also volunteer weekly to package and provide meals to students in Louisville, Kentucky who need food over the weekend.

KFC franchisees are also bringing the Sharemobile concept to life in markets across the country through local food donations and other holiday giveback moments. Ampex Brands, a KFC franchisee based in Dallas, recently held its annual Day of Giving event and donated 11,000 meals to school children in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.

If you’d like to get involved, you can make a donation to help feed students in need at kfc.com/kfcsharemobile. Every bit helps, but a donation of $150 helps feed a student on the weekends for an entire 38-week school year, and a donation as low as $4 will feed a child for a whole weekend.

Body cam footage of the police approaching 9-year-old Bobbi Wilson and her mother.

On October 22, 9-year-old Bobbi Wilson was excited to go out into her Caldwell, New Jersey, neighborhood to see if a mixture she put together would be effective at killing spotted lanternflies. She had learned about the dangers that the lanternflies pose to the local tree population during the summer and created an insecticide that she learned about on TikTok.

Spotted lanternflies are an invasive species dangerous to trees because they feed on their sap.

“That’s her thing,” Wilson’s mother, Monique Joseph, told CNN. “She’s going to kill the lanternflies, especially if they’re on a tree. That’s what she’s going to do.”

While Wilson was peacefully working on her sustainability experiment, her neighbor, Gordon Lawshe, called the police on her. “There’s a little Black woman walking, spraying stuff on the sidewalks and trees on Elizabeth and Florence. I don’t know what the hell she’s doing. Scares me, though,” he said, according to CNN.

Lawshe told the dispatcher she was a “real tiny woman” and wearing a “hood.”

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