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Bill Oddie launches photography competition at Twycross Zoo

A new campaign has been launched at Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire to raise money to save the Great Apes of Africa.

The head of the zoo says if nothing is done, Gorillas and Chimpanzees will be extinct within twenty years.

Last year ITV News Central filmed at a sanctuary in Cameroon helping injured & orphaned primates, which are being hunted for their meat.

Conservationist Bill Oddie was there today to help launch the photography competition fundraiser.

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VIDEO: Our camera captures baby elephant at Twycross Zoo

A newborn baby elephant at Twycross Zoo in Warwickshire went on public display today.

The newborn baby elephant, yet to be named, arrived at the zoo a week ago. She is being cared for by her mother Noorjahan.

Our camera has been capturing some of her first steps in the public spotlight.

Endangered baby elephant born at Twycross Zoo

A newborn baby elephant goes on public display today after being born at Twycross Zoo just one week ago.

The calf, who arrived at the Warwickshire zoo in the early hours of March 4, is being looked after by her mother Noorjahan.

The unnamed baby elephant is now on public display Credit: Twycross Zoo

She has yet to be given a name, but visitors to the attraction can see her out and about with the herd.

Asian elephants are classed as endangered.

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Twycross Zoo regrets use of chimps in PG Tips TV ads

The Chief Executive of Twycross Zoo says chimps should never have been used in PG Tips adverts.

Studies have since found that the apes, which came from the zoo in Leiecestershire, were damaged by the experience.

One of the surviving chimps from the PG Tips adverts at Twycross Credit: ITV Central

Sharon Redrobe, who was appointed CEO in October 2013, said:

"I am very happy we have re-opened the debate on the use of chimps in the media... We have learned a lot in the last twenty years… Chimps find it difficult to be chimps when they have been reared with people…

They have not learned normal chimp etiquette and so when we have to re-introduce them, these animals become very aggressive and can kill people… We have seen many instances in the USA where these chimps have turned on their owners and that is to be expected...

I absolutely would not use chimps in entertainment anymore. They live until their thirties and forties now and we need to give them the best life possible; and that means giving them the best start possible, which is being with other chimps."

Unilever, which owns PG Tips, says it has not featured real apes for more than a decade:

"We have not featured chimpanzees in any PG Tips advertising for over a decade and now use the iconic ‘Monkey’ character as our brand ambassador.”

Animal counts for New Year audits at Twycross Zoo

Zoos across the region are starting their annual count of animals today.

Twelve week-old Black and Gold Howler monkey, Donatello with its mother Lottie at Twycross Zoo Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Archive

The New Year audits help keepers draw up breeding plans, it is also done to see how certain species are surviving in captivity.

Staff at Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire will start their work today.

Zoo release video of 14-day-old rare orang utan

Twycross Zoo has released a video of a rare orang utan born at the attraction in Leicestershire on November 28th. It shows the ape at 14 days old bonding with its mother.

It's the third endangered ape to be born at the zoo this year, and has been described as 'vital' to the survival of the species, which faces extinction in the wild because of the destruction of its natural habitat.

Zoo: 'Orang utans face an uncertain future'

Keepers at Twycross Zoo say they're delighted at the birth of its newest orang utan, as they risk being wiped out within 20 years.

There are fewer than 50,000 of the apes left in the wild, as their natural habitat is being destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations.

'As they only give birth on average once every eight years their numbers are dwindling fast as a result of the extreme rate at which forest habitat in Indonesia is being destroyed by deforestation. Experts now agree that orang utans are likely to be extinct in the wild within the next 20 years, so successful breeding is imperative if this ape is to continue to exist on this planet in the future.”

– Head of Life Sciences, Dr Charlotte Macdonald

Within Indonesia, oil palm production expanded from 600,000 hectares in 1985 to over 6 million hectares by 2007.

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