Chester Zoo has recently announced the birth of a new baby chimp from an endangered species, which has been dubbed as ‘hugely significant’ for the species as a whole.
According to Cheshire Live, Western Chimpanzee Mandy, aged 43, safely gave birth to the baby chimp overnight on Friday 21 August and bonded instantly with the newborn. The gender of the baby is not yet known, and zookeepers are waiting until they find out before naming the infant primate.
Andy Lenihan, team manager of the Primates section at the zoo, said: “Mandy is a wonderful mum. She’s bonded instantly with her new baby and can be seen protectively cradling it in her left arm at all times.”
“Most importantly though, it’s bright-eyed, alert and getting stronger by the day.”
There are fewer than 18,000 Western Chimpanzees, also known as West African chimps left in the wild due to illegal hunting, the bushmeat trade, and loss of habitats due to deforestation in parts of West Africa, and it is the first subspecies of chimp to be added to the critically endangered list.
Researchers at the zoo have confirmed that the genetic make-up of the chimps is vital to the future of the Western Chimpanzee subspecies.
Mike Jordan, Animal & Plant Director at the zoo, said that everyone was exceptionally proud to welcome a precious newborn to the group, as it is a significant addition to the species. Chester Zoo’s chimps are a key part in ensuring there is a safety net population of critically endangered primates.
“Western chimpanzee populations have declined extremely quickly and continue to do so - with little or no prospect of this decline halting. It makes the conservation populations in zoos extremely important for the future,” he said.
There’s no news yet as to when visitors will be able to see the baby chimp for themselves, but Chester Zoo is open again after the lockdown earlier in the year.
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