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Chester Zoo's top 10 babies of 2017

Chester Zoo celebrates its top 10 babies of 2017 Photo: Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo has celebrated a vast array of births in 2017 as their wildlife experts have experienced a baby boom of some of the rarest animals on the planet.

From the first Andean bear ever to be born in mainland Britain to the first hatching of a skink anywhere in the world outside of Bermuda, the Zoo has had a fantastic year.

To celebrate their successes, here are Chester Zoo's Top 10 Babies of 2017:

Rare Eastern Black Rhino mother and calve Credit: Chester Zoo

Double rhino joy – Hazina and Ike born in the space of a week

Births of not one but two incredibly rare Eastern black rhino calves gave a huge boost to global numbers of the critically endangered species, after a large surge in illegal poaching.

The first of the precious pair, a female named Hazina, was born to mum Kitani with little Ike, a male, arriving to Zuri exactly a week later.

First Andean bear born in mainland GB Credit: Chester Zoo

Precious Madidi is first Andean bear born in mainland GB

Adorable Andean bear cub Madidi was the first of her species to ever be born in mainland Britain.

Born to mum Lima and dad Bernie the arrival of the cub was hailed as momentous by zoo experts with the species widely regarded as a something of a mystery to conservationists.

Asian Elephant Credit: Chester Zoo

Asian elephant Aayu welcomed into herd

After a pregnancy lasting 22 months, Sithami Hi Way, an Asian elephant, gave birth to male calf Aayu.

Arriving overnight, keepers stayed up late to monitor the birth live via remote cameras, with Sithami delivering her calf onto soft sand after a 20-minute labour.

Aayu was welcomed by the rest of Chester’s elephant herd, including fellow youngsters Indali and Nandita - an invaluable addition to the breeding programme for the endangered species.

Javan Green Magpie Credit: Chester Zoo

Javan green magpie chicks boost rare species

Javan green magpie chicks hatched at the zoo, providing a major fillip to conservation efforts to save the birds from extinction.

Conservationists and bird staff at the zoo are making every effort to try and save the species, which has been trapped to the very brink in its native Indonesian forests.

The breeding of the four new chicks in Chester has given a huge lift to conservation efforts to save the birds.

Bermuda Skinks Credit: Chester Zoo

Bermuda skinks hatch in world first

Two clutches of Bermudian skinks became the first of their kind to hatch outside of their homeland.

Following years of work by zoo conservationists and 43 days of incubation, seven skinks hatched in a breakthrough in the fight to save the critically endangered species.

Baby Dik-Dik Credit: Chester Zoo

Little dik-dik Thanos makes a big impression

Keepers stepped in to raise young antelope Thanos after his mum passed away soon after giving birth.

The tiny Kirk’s dik-dik, who at the time was no bigger than a bottle of pop and too light to register on the zoo’s set of antelope scales, was bottle fed by staff five times a day.

Zoo's first litter of painted dog pups Credit: Chester Zoo

Zoo’s first litter of endangered painted dog pups born

The birth of a litter of rare African painted dog pups was caught on ‘den cams’.

Born to mum K’mana, it was the first time the endangered species had ever been bred at the zoo, bringing vital new blood to the international breeding programme for the highly threatened animals.

Montseny Newt Credit: Chester Zoo

Landmark newt breeding gives new hope to species

Zoo experts successfully hatched one of the world’s rarest amphibians giving a huge boost to efforts to save it from extinction.

It was the very first time the Montseny newt, a critically endangered species, had ever been bred outside of its native Catalonia.

The zoo became the first organisation in the world outside of Catalonia to join a recovery plan for the animals, after being approached by the Catalan government.

Rothschild's Giraffe Calf Credit: Chester Zoo

Rothschild’s giraffe calf Narus becomes internet sensation

Rare Rothschild’s giraffe calf Narus was born to mum Orla – with remarkable CCTV footage of his birth viewed by millions of people around the world.

The newborn calf became an overnight social media phenomenon as video of him being delivered smoothly onto soft straw, from quite a height, was shared worldwide.

Conservationists from the zoo were thrilled that Narus’ arrival helped to put a major spotlight on the endangered species and the different threats it faces in the wild.

Cameroon Two-Horned Mountain Chameleons Credit: Chester Zoo

Baby chameleon trio hatched in zoo first

Three colourful chameleons, so tiny they each fit on the end of a finger, became the first of their kind to hatch at the zoo.

The trio of Cameroon two-horned mountain chameleons arrived from a clutch of eggs laid by mum Ruby.