Rare Chimpanzee Born in Front of Amazed Visitors at English Zoo
Visitors to England’s Chester Zoo got an up-close look at the circle of life.
According to the zoo, a Western African chimpanzee gave birth to a healthy female baby on July 13 in front of a handful of zoo guests.
After a seven-and-a-half-month pregnancy, Alice, 27, safely gave birth inside her exhibit to the currently unnamed baby. The lucky onlookers who witnessed the birth called the surprise event “amazing” and “epic” to behold.
Keepers say the baby is bonding well with Alice and the rest of the zoo’s 21 chimps. The baby’s arrival is also good for Western African chimpanzees everywhere. Conservationists estimate that there are only 18,000 Western African chimpanzees left in the wild. The primates were the first subspecies of chimpanzee to be added to the list of critically endangered apes.
“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,” Mike Jordan, collections director at the zoo, said in a statement.
“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,” he added.
Those who didn’t see the birth, can still drop by Chester Zoo and say hello to the new arrival at the Western African chimpanzee exhibit.