By Dilantha Dissanayake
A UK zoo has welcomed their fourth baby chimpanzee after shocked zookeepers wake up to find the mother had given birth overnight.
The new addition is the first baby for mum, nine-year old Likemba, who came to the award-winning conservation charity earlier this year as part of a European breeding programme.
The adorable little chimp is yet to show its gender, as Likemba is keeping her newborn close to her chest and is constantly surrounded and supported by the rest of the Bonobo troop.
Twycross Zoo are the only zoo in the UK that care for, and breed Bonobo chimpanzees, which are part of the great ape family and are our closest living relatives, sharing around 98 per cent of our DNA.
Karen Clarke, COO of Twycross Zoo, said: “Each birth is incredibly important for the on-going conservation of the species.
“Likemba is doing brilliantly and keeping her baby close to her chest so we’re not 100% sure of the gender just yet.
“The troop is very close knit and the other females are all rallying around to support her if she needs it.”
The importance of the birth comes at a time full of uncertainly for the great ape species, who are hunted for money and trophies, and are expected to be extinct in the wild by 2040.
Sharon Redrobe, CEO, added: “As the only Zoo in the UK to care for bonobos, each birth is incredibly important for the on-going conservation of the species.
“Experts now predict great apes will become extinct in the wild in less than 20 years’ time, making our latest arrival an incredibly important contribution towards the survival of this endangered ape.”