Mothers Day came early for the kinkajou named Chu.
Chu gave birth to a little one May 2 at the Black Pine Animal Sanctuary in Albion. Black Pines director, Lori Gagen, called the new arrival a happy surprise, in light of the sanctuarys no-breeding policy.
Were not the first sanctuary to have a surprise or an oops, and we probably wont be the last one, she said.
Kinkajous are long-tailed, tree-dwelling mammals native to the tropical forests of Central and South America. They have characteristics of primates but are related to raccoons.
Fourteen-year-old Chu and the babys father, Mishka, 18, came to Black Pine more than 11 years ago. They had been living in a private home in Illinois and were surrendered to the sanctuary after it became clear they were not very good pets, Gagen said.
Theyre pretty much sleeping all day long, she said of the nocturnal pair.
In 2011, the sanctuarys vets planned to neuter Mishka, but his vital signs became unstable under anesthesia. Rather than risk his life, the vets decided to leave him unneutered, considering that he and Chu had already lived together for so long without having a baby, Gagen said.
She said the sanctuary is now exploring its options, such as fixing Chu, to prevent future pregnancies.
The new baby has not yet been named, and its gender is still undetermined. It will be alone with its mother for several weeks before Mishka rejoins them.
Gagen cautioned that sanctuary visitors wanting a look at the baby should not get their hopes up.
Just because theyre nocturnal, its rare that daytime visitors ever get to see them, she said.
Black Pines family overnight camp in September might be a good time to see the baby kinkajou and its parents, Gagen said.