A chimpanzee at a South Australia safari park has been showing off her maternal side in a series of adorable videos.
Footage from Monarto Safari Park shows Zola, a 3-year-old chimp, building a nest for her "pretend baby," known to humans as a rock.
Zola has also been getting acquainted with an infant chimpanzee in their habitat. Video shows Zola carefully carrying Happy, a chimp born in December, before sitting down to cuddle. The cuteness was supervised by Happy’s mom, Hannah.
"Zola has always had a very maternal side and we have often caught her playing with rocks and building nests for her stones, even picking them up and carrying in her leg pocket as some ape mothers do," Laura Hanley, senior keeper for primates, told Storyful.
"Since Happy was born, Hannah has been allowing Zola to get closer and closer to her baby boy. Recently she was allowed to carry him under Hannah’s guidance and often has him in her lap … Zola is infatuated," Hanley said.
In the wild, chimpanzee tribes often share in child care duties, researchers say.
Zola is one of 13 chimps at Monarto Safari Park, which also works closely with the Jane Goodall Institute Australia and the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leone.