ASHEBORO, NC - A baby chimp born August 2nd at the North Carolina Zoo was taken from its mother Saturday for hand-rearing by keepers and a specially trained group of neonatal volunteers after it was determined that the mother could not properly care for the infant.

The baby chimp, named "Nori" by keepers, had been removed for brief periods throughout the week from her 16-year-old mother, Maki, for evaluation by keepers and veterinarians. The infant's weight had not increased since its birth Monday.

According to Zoo Curator of Mammals Terry Webb, although the infant has remained in good condition, the staff was unhappy with the way the first-time mother had been holding the baby, many times upside down, and her general care for it.

Although several chimps have been hand-reared by the N.C. Zoo in the past, Webb emphasized that the mother was given every opportunity to prove her maternal abilities-an option better for both the infant, mother and the chimpanzee group. While the intervention is necessary, the staff will continue to evaluate their progress.

The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Dee A. Freeman, Secretary; Beverly E. Perdue, Governor.