Love is in the air at Chester Zoo with baby 1 and baby 2

Chester Zoo welcomes two new babies from endangered species this year

January has been a very happy month for Chester Zoo as they've welcomed babies from two critically endangered species.

The zoo reported on the 12th January that ZeeZee, one of their Western Chimpanzees which conservationists describe as the “world’s rarest chimpanzees”, gave birth to a healthy baby boy. The little one instantly bonded with his mum and has spent his first few weeks getting familiar with life amongst his peers.

As per the zoo’s tradition, ZeeZee’s baby will be named after a rock or pop star, in an attempt to raise urgent attention for this very special species.

The news was received with immense joy and constitutes a “small but vital boost” to the conservation of this critically endangered species. It is said that only 18,000 Western chimpanzees remain across Africa and it is the first subspecies of chimpanzee to ever be declared Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Small populations of the Western chimpanzee are still found across locations ranging from Senegal to Ghana in West Africa but have sadly become extinct in Benin, Burkina Faso and Togo.

Whilst this new addition has been settling in nicely, the zoo also announced at the end of January the arrival of a baby tree kangaroo, also called Goodfellow’s tree kangaroos. Kitawa’s baby was actually born in July but spent his first 6 months inside his mum’s pouch before venturing into the big, outside world on 25th January.
This birth is a first for Chester Zoo, which is one of the only two UK zoos caring for tree kangaroos and is also a huge step forward for the Goodfellow’s conservation breeding programme, aiming to protect this highly threatened species from extinction.

Conservationists have been recording the joey's growth with a special endoscope camera that has been placed in the mother's pouch every few weeks. They say the data could help tree kangaroos and other threatened species.
Much smaller than the well known Australian kangaroo species, the species is native to the rainforests of Papua New Guinea where hunting and deforestation are threatening their survival and have caused the population to decrease by more than 50% in the last 30 years.

The IUCN has listed the species as endangered in the wild, with conservationists calling for closer monitoring of the animals in their native habitats.

The births will no doubt bring lots of excitement for the zookeepers and visitors in the next few weeks and will serve as a reminder of the important role zoos play in protecting endangered species and reintroducing them back into their natural habitat in the long term.

There are 39 animal species currently listed by the IUCN as Extinct in the Wild. These are species that would have vanished totally were it not for captive populations around the world, many of which reside in zoos.

Chester Zoo also joined forces with the University of Chester to offer a new postgraduate course to train conservationists and help find solutions to climate and biodiversity emergencies.

Applications have opened for this online Conservation and Sustainability Education postgraduate course and more information can be found here

If you'd like to know more about the work done at Chester Zoo, you can check their website here 

Léa's takeaway

Zoos can sometimes get a bit of a bad reputation, but these new births are showing us the vital role zoos play in helping to preserve some of the most endangered species on our planet, thanks to the fantastic work of the zookeepers and the attraction they get from visitors!
 If you’re not quite ready yet for a road trip to Chester, but you want to know more about these beautiful species and more, I can highly recommend some of Sir David Attenborough’s documentaries (David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet, Breaking Boundaries: The Science of our Planet, Planet Earth I & II). All are available on BBC iPlayer and Netflix.

Blog Author: Léa Gorniak - Feb 13th 2023

Related Posts

Zero plastic Shopping

May 26, 2023 Shopify API


May 21, 2023 Shopify API


May 12, 2023 Shopify API