By Aliki Kraterou
Visitors at the zoo were caught by surprise, being lucky enough to witness a rare baby chimpanzee being born.
The female baby was born on the 13th of July (SAT) at the Chester Zoo, Chester.
Mum, Alice,27, who was also born in Chester Zoo in 1991, gave birth to the healthy chimpanzee, in front of the amazed onlookers.
The baby that hasn’t been named yet will be spending time with her mum and the other 20 members of the group.
Her birth is considered highly important since the West African chimpanzees have been declared critically endangered- it’s estimated that only 18,000 remain.
Mike Jordan, Collections Director at the zoo, said: “This new baby is a significant addition to this multi-generational chimpanzee group at the zoo – and a vital boost to the conservation breeding programme for the critically endangered species.
“Alice and her daughter have bonded well and she’s doing a wonderful job of caring for her so far.
“A new baby always creates lots of excitement and Alice has plenty of support from some of the other experienced mums in the group, who are all keen to lend a helping hand.
“The youngster provides particular cause for celebration given the plight of chimpanzees in Africa.
More chimpanzees are hunted for the illegal bush meat trade than are born each year, causing populations to plummet in the wild.
“Couple that with the fact that humans are destroying their habitats and it’s easy to see why these fantastic animals – one of our closest cousins – are being pushed towards extinction.
“This new arrival is a step towards changing the fortunes for the species.”