A critically endangered Western chimpanzee, which conservationists say is the “world’s rarest chimpanzee”, has been born at a zoo, reports BBC.
World’s rarest chimpanzee
Chester Zoo said the birth was a “small but vital boost” to the global population of the species which was “under huge threat” in the wild. The “baby boy” was in good health and had bonded well with its mother and the rest of the troop, it added. In line with the zoo’s tradition, it will be named after a rock or pop star.
Andrew Lenihan, from Chester Zoo, said: “We’ve previously welcomed Dylan (Bob), Alice (Cooper) and Annie (Lennox) – so watch this space. Mum ZeeZee and her new arrival instantly bonded and she’s doing a great job of cradling him closely and caring for him.”
He said the apes were under huge threat in the wild as a result of hunting for the illegal bush meat trade, diseases spread by humans and extensive habitat loss and forest destruction across West Africa.
The chimpanzee’s arrival was 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“, he added.
The zoo said 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). Western chimpanzees have become extinct in Benin, Burkina Faso and Togo.
Mike Jordan, animal and plant director at the zoo, 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.” He added the conservation zoo was “doing everything we possibly can to halt and reverse this“.
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