Saturday 19 August is World Orangutan Day and Twycross Zoo in the midlands will be celebrating by offering free entry to any person with red hair!
This one day initiative has been set up to encourage the public to take action and help the conservation of this magnificent great ape species, raising awareness of the many threats they face.
Orangutan numbers have dramatically declined and it is estimated that there are just 14,600 Sumatran orangutans and 55,000 Bornean orangutans left in the wild, leaving both species critically endangered.
The unsustainable farming of palm oil and mass deforestation across Indonesia and Malaysia has been a major factor in the loss, especially as orangutans make nests and spend almost all their time in trees.
Twycross Zoo has five Bornean orangutans and is one of only two zoos in the world to have welcomed two orangutan babies in the past year, with the youngest born in June 2017. During World Orangutan Day keepers will be on hand to provide more details about the zoo’s own group, highlight the plight of orangutans in the wild and explain what simple steps visitors can take to help save the species, who could face extinction in the next 10 to 20 years.
Loraine Miller, Great Apes Deputy Team Leader at Twycross Zoo says, “Since Twycross Zoo opened in 1963, orangutans have been a key species that we have cared for. They are among the most intelligent primates, using a variety of tools to forage and play and our visitors can witness this first-hand. World Orangutan Day is crucial to help us raise awareness about the declining orangutan populations caused by poaching, habitat destruction and the illegal pet trade. We want to offer our visitors a fun day out for all, but also encourage them to take action in preserving this amazing species.”
Twycross Zoo is open from 10am to 6pm daily. For more information on visiting go to www.twycrosszoo.org.