Twycross Zoo is extremely pleased to announce the birth of an endangered orang utan! Born in the early hours of the morning on Thursday 28th November 2013, the Zoo is thrilled to report the newborn ape is happy, healthy and doing very well.
The new arrival is 36-year old Kibriah’s fourth offspring and yet another vital addition to the European Breeding Programme (EEP) of this endangered great ape.
Head of Life Sciences, Dr Charlotte Macdonald, said: “When keepers arrived in the morning they were delighted to find Kibriah had given birth overnight.
“Although Kibriah isn’t a first time mum, this is her first baby in 12 years so we’re all very pleased with how well she’s doing. She’s very confident and relaxed with the infant, and enjoying plenty of rest! At the moment Dad (Batu aged 24) hasn’t met the new arrival but it won’t be long before they’re introduced. Batu is a great father to Molly, our three year old orang utan, so we expect the meeting to go very smoothly.”
Female orang utans generally give birth to a single infant after a gestation period of approximately eight and a half months. Female Bornean orang utans reach maturity between 10 and 15 years old and reproduce every six to eight years on average.
Great Ape Team Leader, Simon Childs, added: “We’re all very proud. Kibriah is a very loving mum and she’s doing such a great job. She is holding the baby very close so we won’t know if it’s a boy or a girl just yet. When we find out the sex, we can then start to think of a name for him or her. At this stage we don’t mind what sex it is, we’re just happy to have another healthy infant.”
“Molly is already a firm favourite with our visitors so we expect Kibriah’s newest arrival will too become very popular with visitors, and in time become a playmate for Molly.”
The safe arrival of a baby orang utan has been cause for huge celebration amongst keepers and staff, making this the third species of endangered great ape born at the Zoo within 12 months. Lope, a baby gorilla born on 3rd January, and Mokonzi, a baby bonobo born on 19th February, are both thriving.
Dr Charlotte Macdonald went on to say: “The Bornean orang utan is classified as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Redlist (IUCN), with fewer than 50,000 individuals remaining in the wild. As they only give birth on average once every eight years their numbers are dwindling fast as a result of the extreme rate at which forest habitat in Indonesia is being destroyed by deforestation. Experts now agree that orang utans are likely to be extinct in the wild within the next 20 years, so successful breeding is imperative if this ape is to continue to exist on this planet in the future.”
Orang utans face an uncertain future from the deforestation of their natural habitat from the growth of palm oil plantations in response to global demand for palm oil, the most important tropical vegetable oil in the global oils and fats industry. Within Indonesia, oil palm production expanded from 600,000 hectares in 1985 to over 6 million hectares by 2007.
The newborn is now on view to the public in the zoo’s orang utan house.< Back to the news