Chester Zoo’s year in pictures 2017
2017 has been a spectacular year of stunning wildlife photography at Chester Zoo. From rare new arrivals to ground-breaking conservation projects spanning the globe to the opening of state-of-the-art new habitats for tapirs, sun bears and Asian songbirds, here is Chester Zoo’s year in pictures…
Fewer than 2,500 of the animals now remain in the wild - listed as endangered on Internal Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of threatened species.
Experts say a combination of factors including illegal hunting and large scale habitat loss have contributed to the demise of the species.
The tiny Kirk’s dik-dik was bottle fed by staff five times a day following the sad death of its mum, who passed away not long after giving birth.
Kirk’s dik-diks grow to a maximum size of just 40cm, making them one of the smallest species of antelope in the world.
To communicate with one another, much like a violinist rubbing their bow across their violin strings, they have special quills on their backs which they brush together to produce high pitched squeaks. They are the only mammals in the world known to do this.
Dave White, team manager, said: “Relatively little is known the about tenrecs. The loss of the tenrec would mean the loss of millions of years of evolution and a huge amount of scientific knowledge that we’re yet to uncover about these unique mammals.”
Six-year-old mum Lily delivered her new pup in front of astonished onlookers, and the youngster was soon seen running around, climbing over mum and taking its very first swim.
Their scientific name means ‘water pig’, and their bodies have been specially adapted for swimming - with webbed feet and their eyes, ears and nostrils located on top of their heads.
Although not currently listed as an endangered species, the capybara is threatened by illegal poaching for its meat and skin, which can be turned into leather, as well as habitat degradation.
Red river hogs live in swamps and forests in western and central Africa and are said to be the most colourful member of the pig family. They are also the smallest of all African pigs.
Hunting for their meat has led to a decline in red river hogs in some parts of Africa where they were once commonly found.
The first of the precious pair, Hazina, was born to mum Kitani (20) on Monday 19 June with the second, Ike, arriving exactly one week later (Monday 26 June) to 10-year-old Zuri.
The new arrivals take the number of Eastern black rhino at the zoo to 10 and mark important success stories in an acclaimed breeding programme for the highly threatened species.
It is believed that less than 650 now remain across Africa and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the animals as critically endangered in the wild.
The duo were specifically paired together by match-making conservationists as part of a breeding programme for the species, which is highly threatened in its native Madagascar.
The African nation is home to a more diverse range of animal species than any other island on Earth. Conservationists at the zoo are working to protect the forests which are home to thousands of unique species that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, other than on the island.
The zoo added the huge new animal habitats to its £40m Islands zone – already the largest zoological development in the UK – which features animal species native to South East Asia.
An impressive Malayan tapir exhibit, features both outdoor and indoor pools while offering stunning viewing opportunities for visitors to enjoy. A walkthrough bird aviary is filled with bird song, dense planting, streams and waterfalls as birds fly freely around spectators. Sun bears Milli and Toni, who were rescued from Cambodia after they were found as mistreated pets, enjoyed lush trees to climb and forage for food, a stream and behind the scenes a state-of-the-art area for cubs.
Rare miniature wallabies Kai and Aru hopped out into the limelight – the first time the unusual Indonesian animals have ever been seen at Chester.
They are listed as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with their population estimated to have declined by 30% in the last 15-20 years. The demise of the species is largely due to hunting for its meat.
Experts from Chester now want to help raise awareness of the plight of the species in the wild.
Found in forests and swamps on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, the anoa is listed as an endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with just 2,500 estimated to be left in the wild. Their falling numbers are largely attributed to habitat loss and overhunting for their meat.
Sometimes referred to locally as the ‘demon of the forest’, anoas can often be persecuted by farmers who wrongly believe that they leave the forests at night and use their horns to attack other cattle.
Red pandas, whose scientific name Ailurus fulgens means ‘brilliant cat’, are native to the steep forested slopes of the Himalayas. They are a one-of-a-kind in the animal kingdom as they have no close living relatives.
The future survival of these beautiful little pandas is increasingly vulnerable as developers are taking over the bamboo forests which they depend on to live in China, the Himalayas and Nepal.
Black jaguar Goshi (above), red panda Nima and the zoo’s pack of bush dogs were among the animals to make the most of the frosty weather.