Sep 29, 2022 - News

Two Columbus bonobos become first to receive implanted heart monitors

A close-up photo of Jimmy the bonobo

Jimmy, a 42-year-old male bonobo, will have his heart monitored remotely by the Detroit Zoo. Photo: Amanda Carberry, courtesy of the Columbus Zoo

Two Columbus Zoo bonobos are the world's first to receive implanted heart monitors.

  • A cardiologist and anesthesiologist recently joined zoo veterinarians and experts with the Great Ape Heart Project, based at the Detroit Zoo, to complete the procedures on male bonobos Jimmy, 42, and Maiko, 38.

Why it matters: Bonobos are endangered and one of our closest living relatives, sharing 98% of DNA with humans — plus the same cardiac conditions that threaten our health.

Yes, and: Doctors implanted monitors in four other critically endangered apes: female orangutan Dumplin, 48, and male Sulango, 29, along with silverback gorillas Mac, 38, and Ktembe, 25.

How it works: A receiver will upload data from the cardiac monitors to Detroit via cell phone signals, where experts will alert Columbus veterinarians if irregular heartbeats or other anomalies occur.

  • The monitors are the same devices used in humans, about a third of the size of a AAA battery.

What they're saying: This breakthrough will not only help the apes, but "provide critical knowledge to advance veterinary care for their species,” senior zoo veterinarian Priya Bapodra-Villaverde said in a statement.

🐵 Fun fact: Just eight U.S. zoos house bonobos. Two are in Ohio — Columbus and Cincinnati.

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