Devon’s Paignton Zoo keepers can’t stop admiring the cute little member of their zoo family who joined them less than a month ago. Born to mom orangutan, the newborn is the first orangutan birth in 18 years at the zoo.
Resting in mom’s strong arms, the little ape is a girl, think the zoo officials. She was born to 18 year old Mali and both mom and baby are doing well.
According to Phil Knowling a spokesperson for the zoo,
“We are pretty sure it’s a girl. Keepers are 99.9 per cent sure that the baby, now a month old, is female. Mali and the baby are doing well. They have the largest of the orangutan islands and even have an off show den to themselves.”
“We hope that visitors will be able to catch a glimpse of the youngster, which will become more mobile over the coming months”, he added.
The birth of the baby is extremely good news as they are Bornean Orangutans and the species is already very rare. There are about 50,000 individuals left in the world and their population has seen a sharp decline in the recent past.
The major threat to these animals has been the rapid expansion of the oil palm plantation in their home islands – Borneo. These apes are the only ones found in Asia and share around 97 percent of their DNA with humans.
They live in the tropical and subtropical forests in lowland and mountainous areas of Borneo. The species lives in the tree canopy and moves large distances in search of food. Apart for the destruction of the habitat because of oil palm plantation, another major threat to their survival is the bush meat trade.
Some baby orang-utans are also caught to be sold as pets.
This newborn at the zoo however has a much secure life than her cousins in the wild.
The baby will remain with her mother for up to 10 years before it may be transferred to another zoo as per the European Endangered Species Programme. During this time she will learn a lot of things from her mother like the use of sophisticated tool and building nests to sleep in. Orangutans are one of the most intelligent among all primates.