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Your morning adorable: Oklahoma City Zoo's baby chimp celebrates her first birthday -- with cake

October 16, 2009 | 11:57 am

Zoe

The Oklahoma City Zoo's baby chimpanzee, Zoe, isn't such a baby anymore -- she celebrated her first birthday Wednesday, and the zoo is hosting a two-day party in her honor. 

Thursday, Zoe and her chimpanzee family received a specially made birthday cake, which the birthday girl seems to be enjoying tremendously in the photo above!  (Don't worry; the zoo's gorilla and orangutan residents weren't left out of the fun -- they received gifts of their own.) Today, the chimpanzee family will receive presents and even have the chance to play with piñatas!

Zoe's birth last year was the Oklahoma City Zoo's first chimp birth since 1949 -- but what should have been simply a happy event was tinged with sadness when Zoe's mother, Chloe, died as a result of birth complications. (Zoe was given a name that rhymed with her mother's as a tribute.) For the first months of her life Zoe was raised by keepers, who even donned a vest that mimicked the texture of chimp fur to help her learn the important skill of clinging to an adult chimp's back. In April, surrogate chimp mother Abby took over parenting duties.

Despite her setback early in life, Zoe is "rambunctious, curious and loves to explore," according to the zoo's curator of mammals, Laura Bottaro. "We're all taken by her." We are, too!

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Zoe has a face full of birthday cake during her birthday party Thursday. Credit: Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press

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