Rare Edinburgh chimp celebrates second birthday

Velu is celebrating his second birthday at Edinburgh Zoo

Velu is celebrating his second birthday at Edinburgh Zoo

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The first chimpanzee to be successfully reared in Scotland for 15 years is celebrating his second birthday at Edinburgh Zoo.

Velu - now a lively toddler - was born on June 24, 2014, and, to mark the occasion, the pure Western chimp will receive a selection of his favourite tasty treats, wrapped in boxes, as well as a gigantic birthday card.

His name means “hairy” in French and is a reference to his most distinctive feature – long spiky hair on top of his head, with a neat parting down the middle.

Velu still stays very close to his mother, Heleen, but has started to venture away from her and go off exploring independently.

Chimpanzees will wean from their mother’s milk at between three and four years of age, with the males considered to be fully mature when they are 15.

Donald Gow, Budongo team leader at Edinburgh Zoo, said: “Velu is a real success story for our chimpanzee group and for conservation in general. A pure Western chimp, his particular subspecies is Endangered in the wild. It is fantastic to be able to celebrate his second birthday and watch him grow up.”

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