A nature reserve in Spain has shared footage of an adorable newborn chimpanzee from an almost extinct species.
The baby western chimpanzee, also known as the West African chimpanzee, was born at the Bioparc nature reserve in Valencia, eastern Spain.
The new arrival has been named Coco in homage to Valencia’s most famous chimpanzee, who spent 27 years living in the city’s Vivero zoo, before his death in 2005.
The addition of Coco to the family takes the total of western chimpanzees at the Bioparc up to six, including his parents – a 30-year-old male called Moreno, and 11-year-old mother Noelia. The rest of the group comprises of four females aged between 15 and 28.
Staff observed how, despite their lack of experience when it comes to having children, both Moreno and Noelia were proving to be loving parents, providing ‘all the correct and necessary care’.
Conservationists spoke of their ‘great joy,’ at the arrival of Coco, describing the baby chimp as:
An icon of our commitment to the bio-diversity of the planet, not only with species which are in danger of extinction, but with all the animals we share our society with, and which we don’t always treat as we should.
Video footage of little Coco shows him being tenderly cuddled and playing with his doting mum and dad.
According to staff at the zoo, Coco appears very much at ease with the other members of the group.
The arrival of baby Coco seems to have had a positive effect on the other chimpanzees at the nature reserve, too.
Staff at the Bioparc said Coco’s birth had ‘recreated the nature, harmony and togetherness of the other members of the group’.
Western chimpanzees are one of two subspecies most threatened by extinction. According to IUCN, populations of wild chimpanzees, found only in tropical Africa, have declined by around 66 per cent in the last 30 years.
The western chimpanzee is on the IUCN‘s Red List of Threatened Species, and are currently listed as a critically endangered species.
As western chimpanzees are threatened with extinction – though Coco provides hope – one animal thought to be extinct, miraculously reappeared earlier this year, proving the doubters wrong.
Last spotted in Baja California way back in 1986, mammalogists hadn’t seen tail nor whisker of the Dipodomys gravipes – also known as the San Quintin kangaroo rat – since.
It was assumed these five inch animals had gone the same way as the dodo and the woolly mammoth, lost to extinction.
They were even registered as ‘critically endangered: possibly extinct’ by the Mexican government in 1994.
Just announced! The @SDNHM, in collaboration with @TerraPeninsular, has rediscovered the San Quintín kangaroo rat (Dipodomys gravipes). Read more: https://t.co/iSkwd0sj14. [PRESS RELEASE] #BackfromExtinction #TheNat #TerraPeninsular pic.twitter.com/7vn15BZnyS
— The Nat (@SDNHM) April 16, 2018
However, these cuddly looking rats have now been rediscovered, all thanks to the hard work and dedication of researchers at the San Diego Museum of Natural History.
Researchers had been monitoring populations of small rodents in Baja, California, when the San Quintin kangaroo rat was discovered in one of their research areas, IFL Science reports.
This delightful rediscovery of the kangaroo rat, and Coco’s arrival, just shows there’s so much more to learn about our natural world. Welcome to it, guys!
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.