Amazing pics show orphaned chimp taken in by new dad in rare footage

AOL Travel

While working on a three-year project to make a Disney documentary about chimpanzees, the crew were devastated when one little chimp was left orphaned and facing an almost certain death.

But to their utter delight and surprise, the baby chimpanzee, called Oscar, was rescued by a loving alpha male, called Freddy, who shocked everyone by taking him under his wing.

Two years into the making of Chimpanzee, a Disney documentary set to be released in the UK on 3 May, Oscar's loving mother, Isha, became injured in a fight and was thought to have fallen prey to a leopard in her vulnerable state.

Chimpanzees are so dependent on their mothers, and adoption is so rare within groups, it is generally believed that babies cannot survive if they are orphaned before the age of five.

But Freddy, who had previously shown an aggressive nature to become the alpha male of 37 chimps, took pity on Oscar and started caring for him. He cracked nuts for him, groomed him, carried him on his back, cradled him, and even slept with him at night.

Filming took place mainly in the Taï Forest, a Unesco World Heritage Site in Africa's Ivory Coast.

Professor Christophe Boesch, a renowned chimpanzee expert and the film's principal scientific consultant, has studied chimps there for 33 years.

He told The Guardian: "I have never seen a male like Freddy take up the role of a mother like that."

And, according to the Daily Mail, Mark Linfield, who co-directed the film with Alastair Fothergill, described the scenes as "the best storyline we never wrote".

Chimpanzee is the fourth production from Disney's Disneynature division, and has already taken £20m in America.

A huge chunk of the profits will go to the See Chimpanzee, Save Chimpanzees cause, set up by the Jane Goodall Institute, which aims to highlight the plight of the animals.

There are only 200,000 chimps now left in the wild, compared with more than a million 50 years ago.

It is believed that due to hunting, disease and forest destruction, chimps could become extinct in 10 countries within 20 years.

See a trailer for the fabulous documentary here:

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