Endangered Western chimpanzee born at Edinburgh Zoo

The baby girl was born to mother Heleen on February 3 and a public vote will be held to chose her name.

Chimpanzee: The baby girl is an endangered Western chimp. RZSS
Chimpanzee: The baby girl is an endangered Western chimp.

A chimpanzee from a critically endangered subspecies has been born at Edinburgh Zoo.

Mother Heleen gave birth to a baby girl on Monday February 3, following her first child Velu in 2014.

The Western chimpanzee infant, who was born at the zoo’s award-winning Budongo Trail, will be named in a public vote in the coming days.

Donald Gow, team leader, said: “We are really proud of Heleen, who needed lots of support from keepers to raise Velu – who is now almost six years old – but has been doing really well with her new baby.

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“Like most newborns, chimpanzee babies are fragile in their first few weeks of life so we will be keeping a close eye on them both.

The baby chimpanzee will be named by the public.

“While we celebrate every birth, this one is particularly special because our new arrival is a critically endangered Western chimpanzee, a rare subspecies of chimpanzee.

“We know her dad is either Frek, Rene or Louis and we will carry out a paternity test during the baby’s first health check.”

Heleen was rescued from a research laboratory in the Netherlands before being brought to the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland zoo in 2010.

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Edinburgh Zoo is currently home to 14 other chimpanzees – Louis, David, Qafzeh, Liberius, Lucy, Kilimi, Rene, Paul, Frek, Sophie, Lianne, Eva, Edith and Velu.

The subspecies can be found in the wild in western Africa, mostly in the Ivory Coast and Guinea but also in surrounding countries.


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