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Chester Zoo Welcomes Critically Endangered Chimpanzee Infant

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: September 8, 2020 12:30 am

Baby Chimpanzee Chester Zoo

A chimpanzee infant clings to mother, Mandy at Chester Zoo

Photo Credit: Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo has welcomed the birth of a western chimpanzee, an event described as ‘hugely significant’ for the species.

Western chimpanzees are the first subspecies of chimpanzee to have their position on the IUCN red list raised to critically endangered. As few as 18,000 western chimpanzees are believed to remain in the wild.

Baby Chimpanzee Chester Zoo

A chimpanzee infant clings to mother, Mandy at Chester Zoo

Photo Credit: Chester Zoo

43 year old mother, Mandy gave birth overnight on Friday August 21st after an 8 ½ month pregnancy.

Andy Lenihan, Team Manager of the Primates section at Chester Zoo, said, “Mandy is a wonderful mum. She’s bonded instantly with her new baby and can be seen protectively cradling it in her left arm at all times.”

“A new arrival always creates a lot of excitement – it’s a real extended-family affair as many of the females in the group often want to help to take care of the newcomer while, for some of the juveniles, seeing a mum with a new baby is a completely new experience. It’s great to see the other youngsters watching Mandy closely and learning from such a natural mother.”

Baby Chimpanzee Chester Zoo

A chimpanzee infant clings to mother, Mandy at Chester Zoo

Photo Credit: Chester Zoo

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Currently the infant spends all of its time in Mandy’s arms and as such keepers are yet to determine the gender of the infant chimpanzee. It will be several months before the youngster begins to explore.

Mike Jordan, Chester Zoo Animal & Plant Director said, “We’re incredibly proud to see a precious new baby in the group – it’s a hugely significant addition and a big boost for this species. The chimpanzees here at Chester are a key part of the international efforts working to ensure there’s a viable safety-net population of these critically endangered animals.”

Over the last decade a project has been undertaken across European zoos to determine the subspecies of the chimpanzees they provide a home to. Following this study the group held at Chester Zoo has been identified as being vital to the future of their subspecies.

Baby Chimpanzee Chester Zoo

A chimpanzee infant clings to mother, Mandy at Chester Zoo

Photo Credit: Chester Zoo

Jordan said, “In the wild, the Western chimpanzee is under huge threat from hunting, the illegal bush meat trade and extensive habitat loss – all a result of human activity. Western chimpanzee populations have declined extremely quickly and continue to do so – with little or no prospect of this decline halting. It makes the conservation populations in zoos extremely important for the future”

“In tandem with the endangered species breeding programme, involving many of the world’s most progressive zoos, our conservation teams are working alongside our partners in Uganda, Nigeria and Gabon to help protect chimpanzees and their forest homes,” finished Jordan.

Learn more about chimpanzees here – Chimpanzee Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about Chester Zoo on their website – Chester Zoo

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