It's "unheard of" for a chimp mother so close to childbirth to adopt an infant. But one chimpanzee in Australia doesn't care much for what humans have heard.
The infant chimpanzee's mother died while giving birth to him last week. But now the six-day old named Boona, meaning 'blessing' in memory of his mother Soona, has been adopted by expectant mum Zombi.
Zombi and Boona call the Monarto Zoo home. The open-range zoo is about 60 km south-east of Adelaide, South Australia.
Zombi, who is due to give birth to her own child in the upcoming few weeks, stayed with Soona until she died on Friday and has been a supportive mother to Boona, grooming and nursing him as though he was her own, reports the Daily Mail.
Monarto Zoo Senior Primate Keeper Laura Hanley said: "I'm humbled by what we've seen from the chimpanzee troop over the last few days – it's unheard of to see a heavily pregnant chimpanzee adopt an orphaned newborn infant.
Male chimpanzee Gombe cared for Boon in the immediate hours after his birth before Zombi took over the parenting responsibilities.
Zoo keepers will keep an eye on Zombi and Boon as she prepares for her own birth but believe she will be able to take care of both infants, Ms Hanley said.
"We can't completely predict the outcome, but know if any chimp can look after two infants at once, Zombi can," she said.