Posted: Thu 12th Jan 2023

Critically endangered chimpanzee born at Chester Zoo

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Jan 12th, 2023

Chester Zoo has announced the arrival of a ‘new little rockstar’ to its troop of Western chimpanzees.

New mum ZeeZee, a critically endangered Western chimpanzee, safely delivered the tiny baby boy following an eight-month pregnancy.

The new male arrival is in good health and has spent the first few weeks of life bonding with mum and the rest of the 22-strong troop.

For decades now, it’s been a tradition at the zoo to name baby chimpanzees after famous rock and pop stars.

This unique approach has helped raise urgent attention for this charismatic species, which is facing extinction.

The zoo has previously welcomed Dylan (Bob), Alice (Cooper), and Annie (Lennox) the zoo has said “watch this space to see what this youngster’s name will be!”

Andrew Lenihan, Team Manager of the Primates section, said:

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

Andrew said: “You’ll often see the new baby being passed between other females who want to lend a helping hand and give ZeeZee some well-deserved rest, and that’s exactly what her daughter, Stevie, is doing with her new brother.”

“It looks as though she’s taken a real shine to him, which is great to see.”

“He may not know it, but ZeeZee’s new baby is a small but vital boost to the global population of Western chimpanzees, at a time when it’s most needed for this critically endangered species.”

As few as just 18,000 Western chimpanzees remain across Africa and it is the first subspecies of chimpanzee to ever be declared Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Small populations of the Western chimpanzee are still found ranging from Senegal to Ghana in West Africa – but have sadly become extinct in Benin, Burkina Faso and Togo.

Chester Zoo experts believe the birth gives further hope to efforts to ensure the long-term survival of the species.

Mike Jordan, Animal & Plant Director said:

“In the last 25 years alone the world has lost 80% of its Western chimpanzee population, so the arrival of a healthy baby here at Chester offers us real hope that we can help turn things around for this species.”

“We’re in the midst of a global extinction crisis. The UN estimates that one million species could be wiped out in our lifetime.”

“But, as a world-leading conservation zoo, we’re doing everything we possibly can to halt and reverse this. Our teams have worked on the ground in Uganda, Nigeria and Gabon to help protect wild chimpanzee populations and their forest homes.”

“This work, paired with the endangered species breeding programme in conservation zoos, will help play a key role in protecting this species from being lost forever.”

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