Edinburgh Zoo welcomes birth of baby chimpanzee

A baby 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.

Chimp with mum
Mother Heleen was rescued from a research laboratory in the Netherlands (RZSS/Donald Gow/PA)

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.

“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.

“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.

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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