The Western chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus), a subspecies of the common chimpanzee, is considered to be critically endangered due to habitat loss and hunting, their population has declining by over 80% in the last 25 years.
A “small but vital boost” to the species’ population, was the birth of a baby chimpanzee at a British Zoo. The primate was born on December 9 and does not have a name yet, but will be named after a music star as is tradition, meant to help boost the species’ profile. “It’s been a tradition of ours for decades now to name baby chimpanzees after famous rock and pop stars in a bid to help raise some urgent attention for this charismatic species,” said Andrew Lenihan from Chester Zoo. ”We’ve previously welcomed Dylan (Bob), Alice (Cooper) and Annie (Lennox) – so watch this space.”
About the birth of the world’s rarest chimpanzee, Mr Lenihan said: “we’re incredibly proud to see a precious new baby in the chimpanzee troop. Mum ZeeZee and her new arrival instantly bonded and she’s doing a great job of cradling him closely and caring for him. A birth always creates a lot of excitement in the group and raising a youngster soon becomes a real extended family affair. You’ll often see the new baby being passed between other females who want to lend a helping hand.”
Chester Zoo, home to more than 27,000 animals and 500 species, runs in addition to breeding the chimps in captivity, conservation programs with the wild chimps in Nigeria and Gabon. “In the last 25 years alone, the world has lost 80 percent 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,” said Mike Jordan, the animal & plant director.