Conservationists at Chester Zoo are celebrating the birth of a rare baby chimpanzee.
Newly released images of the tiny newborn show it being cradled by mum Alice and other female relatives in the 22-strong troop.
Animal and Plant Director at the zoo Mike Jordan said: “A new birth always sparks some real excitement within the chimpanzee group here at Chester.
“While Alice and her new baby are certainly centre of attention among the other chimpanzees, they’re still finding some quiet time to get to know one another and can often be seen cuddled up together.
“What’s also great to see is that some of the others in the group, especially the younger females, are really intrigued by the new baby and are learning all about motherhood from Alice.
“This is an important learning curve for them and this experience can be really useful for when they hopefully go on to have babies of their own.
He said that a thriving conservation breeding programme “is key to the long-term protection of these animals”.
The chimpanzees at Chester are part of an international conservation breeding programme that sees European zoos working together to help prevent the primates from disappearing altogether.
The zoos use the latest scientific technologies to determine the genetic makeup of each chimpanzee to create a safety-net population.
Human-related activities such as the illegal wildlife trade and poaching have severely impacted chimpanzee populations in many parts of Africa.
Deforestation, driven by agricultural expansion and logging, has significantly reduced their natural habitats into smaller and more fragmented territories.
Mr Jordan said the zoo has worked with wildlife authorities, in-country partners and local communities in an effort to protect some of the world’s rarest wild chimpanzee populations and their forest homes.
“These collective efforts, paired with the conservation breeding programme in zoos, gives us hope that we can create a future where chimpanzees thrive long into the future,” he said.