Critically endangered chimpanzee born at Chester Zoo offers new hope to new species

Critically endangered chimpanzee born at Chester Zoo offers new hope to new species

Critically endangered chimpanzee born at Chester Zoo offers new hope to new species

A critically endangered western chimpanzee was born at Chester Zoo.

The male chimpanzee is in good health and is spending the first weeks of his life bonding with his mother, ZeeZee, and the other members of the zoo’s 22-man troop.

He will be named after a rock star or pop star like three other baby chimpanzees previously born at the zoo – Dylan (Bob), Alice (Cooper) and Annie (Lennox).

“We are incredibly proud to see a precious new baby in the chimpanzee troop. Mum ZeeZee and her new arrival bonded instantly and she did a great job cradling him tightly and caring for him,” said Andrew Lenihan, Primate Section Team Leader at Chester Zoo.

“A birth always creates a lot of emotion in the group and raising a youngster quickly becomes a real extended family affair.

“You’ll often see the new baby passed between other women who want to lend a hand and give ZeeZee some much-needed rest, and that’s exactly what her daughter, Stevie, is doing with her new sibling. It looks like she really shone with him, which is great to see.

Western chimpanzees are a medium-sized subspecies of the common chimpanzee. They are about a meter long from head to rump and weigh up to 45 kg. They can live up to 40 years and are distinguished by their unusual behaviors. These include their use of spears to hunt and catch prey, and a strange habit of throwing large boulders at trees or into hollow tree stumps.

This is the first chimpanzee subspecies to be declared critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It is estimated that there are only 18,000 individuals found ranging from Senegal to Ghana in West Africa, with previous populations in Benin, Burkina Faso and Togo now extinct due to habitat loss.

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“In the last 25 years alone the world has lost 80% of its western chimpanzee population, so the arrival of a healthy baby here in Chester offers us real hope that we can help turn things around. this species,” said Mike Jordan, director of animals and plants at Chester Zoo.

“We are in the midst of a global extinction crisis. The UN estimates that one million species could become extinct in our lifetime. But, as the world’s leading conservation zoo, we are doing everything we can to stop and reverse this trend.

“Our teams have worked on the ground in Uganda, Nigeria and Gabon to help protect wild chimpanzee populations and their forest habitats. This work, together with the breeding program for endangered species in conservation zoos, will help play a key role in protecting this species from extinction forever.

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