Primate conservationists are celebrating the birth of the world’s rarest chimpanzee at Chester Zoo.

New mum ZeeZee, a critically endangered Western chimpanzee, safely delivered the tiny baby boy following an eight month pregnancy.

Great ape experts at the conservation zoo have revealed that the new male arrival is in good health and has spent the first few weeks of life bonding with mum and the rest of the 22-strong troop.

Messenger Newspapers: Mama ZeeZeeMama ZeeZee (Image: Chester Zoo)

In what is a longstanding tradition among conservationists, the youngster will be named after a rockstar or famous pop icon to help boost the profile of the highly threatened species. 

As few as just 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).

Andrew Lenihan, team manager at Chester Zoo, 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.

Messenger Newspapers: Sister Stevie with the babySister Stevie with the baby (Image: Chester Zoo)

“We’ve previously welcomed Dylan (Bob), Alice (Cooper) and Annie (Lennox) – so watch this space.”


Little Lever artist draws on her own windows to make people smile

Dogs set to be allowed on trams permanently after successful trial

Police appeal after dog owner throws cat on ground in car park

The apes are under huge threat in the wild as a result of hunting for the illegal bush meat trade, diseases spread by humans and extensive habitat loss and forest destruction across West Africa.