Conservation specialist and national attraction Chester Zoo is celebrating the birth of a rare male chimpanzee.
Born to mother ZeeZee, the new addition to the zoo is a Western chimpanzee, which is a species on the critically endangered list. According to conservationists at Chester, it is the rarest chimpanzee in the world.
Early reports from the Zoo have stated that the new-born was in excellent health and has bonded well with both his mother and the rest of the troop. Andrew Lenihan from the Zoo said:
“Mum ZeeZee and her new arrival instantly bonded and she’s doing a great job of cradling him closely and caring for him.”
They added that the infant’s sister Stevie had already taken a shine to the yet to be named “baby boy”. Following the zoo’s tradition, he will take his name from a famous musician. Previous members joining Chester’s resident troop have included chimpanzees named after Alice Cooper, Annie Lennox, and Bob Dylan.
In terms of conservation, the Zoo stated that the birth would provide a small but crucial boost to the international population of the Western chimpanzee, which is currently inching towards extinction due to threats including illegal hunting, the spread of human disease and extensive loss of habitat due to deforestation across West Africa. With only 18,000 Western chimpanzees present across Africa, it is the first chimpanzee subspecies to be declared critically endangered, having already become extinct in the West African nations of Togo, Benin, and Burkina Faso.
Visitors to Chester Zoo can learn about its conservation efforts and see the new arrival seven days a week between 10 am and 4 pm.