THE birth of a rare baby armadillo has been captured on film for the very first time with help from Chester Zoo.

Researchers studying the mysterious animals in Brazil spotted the four-week-old armadillo emerging from its burrow with its mother thanks to automated camera traps provided by conservation organisations including Chester Zoo.

It means that experts are able to gain more understanding about the species and how to protect it.

Dr Arnaud Desbiez, co-ordinator of the Pantanal Giant Armadillo Project, said: "Documenting the birth of a giant armadillo is an exciting step forward to helping us better understand the biology and reproduction of this cryptic species and ultimately help us conserve it."

And Dr Roger Wilkinson, head of field conservation and research at Chester Zoo, said it was a "treat" to know that the zoo was aiding research in South America.

He said: "In all my 30 years working in animal conservation I’ve never seen video footage of a baby giant armadillo and so these pictures really are amazing.

"It's a real treat to see that our work here in Chester can help with the conservation of such amazing animals nearly 6,000 miles away in Brazil."