Twycross Zoo, Leicestershire, has welcomed a critically-endangered Bornean orangutan baby, the third offspring to father Batu and mother Maliku.
The new arrival is the first great ape baby to be born at the zoo this year, supporting a European-wide breeding programme to conserve the iconic orangutan species which faces an uncertain future in the wild.
The new orangutan, born on the 27th of March, will grow up within a wider family group, and stay with its mother until the age of around seven when it will have learned to fend for itself.
However, the future for the orangutan species in the wild is not looking good as numbers are in dramatic decline. The main threat to the world’s largest tree-climbing species has been loss of habitat and illegal hunting. Last year the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) changed the status of Bornean orangutans to Critically Endangered.
Twycross Zoo is a member of the United Nations Great Ape Survival Partnership (GRASP), which is helping to ensure the long-term survival of great ape species and their habitat in both Asia and Africa.
Dr Charlotte Macdonald, Director of Life Sciences says, “We are thrilled by this new baby because orangutans reproduce more slowly than other ape species, which hinders the recovery of the species in the wild.
“We hope that this birth will help us highlight the plight of orangutans in the wild and that, with the support of the public, we can continue to work to ensure a better future for this precious species. Simple consumer actions, such as purchasing products which contain either no palm oil or sustainably sourced palm oil, can really help make a big difference to thier survival.”
You could also help orangutans by visiting Twycross Zoo, or by joining the zoo’s animal adoption scheme, which helps support the conservation of endangered species.
Twycross Zoo is open to the public from 10am to 6pm daily. For more information and to book tickets visit www.twycrosszoo.org or call 0844 474 1777.