A critically endangered Bornean orangutan has been born at Chester Zoo to doting parents Sarikei and Willie.

The new baby arrived during the early hours of Thursday 31 August, following an eight-and-a-half-month pregnancy, and is a positive step in the right direction for the protection of this highly threatened species.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), lists Bornean orangutans as Critically Endangered in the wild – ranking them as one of the species which requires the highest conservation priority. The newborn orangutan will join a European-wide conservation breeding programme aiming to bolster the population of the rare primate in conservation zoos.

The birth of an animal that’s so rare is always something to celebrate and seeing the new baby in the arms of mum Sarikei is incredibly special. She’s a great mum and has spent the first few days cradling her baby closely, feeding it regularly and building close bonds – all the signs are great so far.” said Mark Brayshaw, Head of Mammals

Mike Jordan, Animal & Plant Director, added:

“The birth of a Bornean orangutan holds an incredible amount of significance for those fighting for this species. The island of Borneo, the only place where these magnificent apes are found, has lost more than 40% of its rainforests since the turn of the millennia. This relentless habitat loss has seen rainforests, and many of the thousands of species living in them, completely disappear with incredible pace.

“Our efforts to protect Bornean orangutans extend far beyond the boundaries of our conservation zoo. We are on the ground in South East Asia, working with in-country partners and NGOs to help tackle the deforestation and palm oil crisis that has engulfed the region. Our work there involves restoring habitats and mitigating human-wildlife conflict, while promoting sustainable initiatives to palm oil farmers such as creating wildlife corridors to allow orangutans the freedom to move through plantations and between forests. Back home in the UK we’ve spearheaded a campaign that has seen sustainable palm oil, sourced from accredited farms that are working to benefit wildlife, become the norm in a handful of communities across the country – with more joining the movement all the time.


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