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Rare Sumatran orangutan born at Chester Zoo
10:45am Thursday 25th October 2012 in News
A tiny Sumatran orangutan has been born at Chester Zoo.
The baby’s arrival on October 19 has been cause for huge celebration because the species is classed by conservationists as being critically endangered in the wild, where it is estimated that less than 7,000 remain.
Keepers so far believe it to be a boy Mum Emma and dad Puluh are part of the European Endangered Species Programme which co-ordinates breeding between zoos to maintain genetic diversity.
Tim Rowlands, the zoo’s curator of mammals, said: “Emma is a fantastic mum and is doing a brilliant job, cradling her baby and not letting him out of her arms.
“To see the baby and mother together is a truly beautiful sight and to think that this four-day-old is now part of a safety net in case wild populations go extinct is completely humbling.”
Sumatran orangutans, as their name suggests, are found only on the Indonesia islands of Sumatra, where they are threatened by habitat loss with land being used for agricultural development and logging.
The animals are also hunted for meat, traditional medicine and the pet trade.
Mum and baby, as well as the zoo’s other Sumatran and Bornean orangutans, can be seen in the zoo’s Realm of the Red Ape exhibit.
The new arrival comes hot on the heels of a host of other major animal births at the zoo, including a Rothschild giraffe calf, a black rhino calf and a baby okapi.