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A Chimpanzee Mystery: Who's Your Daddy?

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A Chimpanzee Mystery: Who's Your Daddy?

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A Chimpanzee Mystery: Who's Your Daddy?

A Chimpanzee Mystery: Who's Your Daddy?

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/6921863/6922233" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Teresa, a wild-born chimpanzee in her mid 40s, delivered baby Tracy on Jan. 8 at a chimp sanctuary in Louisiana. Officials are trying to determine who her father is. Amy Fultz/Chimp Haven hide caption

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Amy Fultz/Chimp Haven

Teresa, a wild-born chimpanzee in her mid 40s, delivered baby Tracy on Jan. 8 at a chimp sanctuary in Louisiana. Officials are trying to determine who her father is.

Amy Fultz/Chimp Haven

Teresa (left) enjoys a sunny moment with her newborn baby Tracy, while long-time friend Rita looks on. Rick DelaHaya/Chimp Haven hide caption

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Rick DelaHaya/Chimp Haven

Teresa (left) enjoys a sunny moment with her newborn baby Tracy, while long-time friend Rita looks on.

Rick DelaHaya/Chimp Haven

Officials at Chimp Haven, a sanctuary for retired research chimpanzees in Keithville, La., have a mystery on their hands.

One of their chimps, 40-year-old Teresa, recently gave birth to a daughter, Tracy. That came as a surprise because the staff thought all of the male chimps had undergone vasectomies. Officials are currently performing paternity tests to determine the father.

Teresa lives with 18 other adult chimpanzees in a five-acre forested area, says Linda Brent, president and director of Chimp Haven. She is a behavioral primatologist and has known Teresa for 20 years.

Brent explains that although the male chimpanzees all had vasectomies before coming to Chimp Haven, the procedure is difficult to perform due to their anatomy, and failures are common.

Staff think there are three males out of seven in the group that might have fathered baby Tracy: Jimmo, in his 40s; Conan, 21; and 17-year-old Magnum.