Chester Zoo has just welcomed a very precious new arrival in the form of a very tiny and very fuzzy Bornean Orangutan!
The baby is the first of it’s kind to be born in a British zoo in more than 10 years, and staff at the zoo couldn’t be more thrilled.
Born to doting parents Sarikei and Willie on 2nd April 2017, the baby arrived perfectly healthy at 11.15am after an 8-and-a-half-month pregnancy.
This baby orangutan is now the 7th member of the Bornean orangutan family living in the zoo.
Primate keeper at the zoo Chris Yarwood said, ‘seeing mum Sarikei holding her tiny baby close is an amazing sight.
‘This is Sarikei’s third baby and although it’s very early days, she is so far doing a wonderful job of caring for little one. She’s a great mum.’
‘It’s also the first youngster that our male Willie has sired. We’re very hopeful that he will make a great father as he is still young himself and enjoys playing with other orangutans.’
‘He has a great personality and it will be interesting to watch him develop his parenting skills.’
Even though it was born in captivity, the birth of the new baby orangutan couldn’t come at a better time as conservationists are desperately battling to preserve the species.
Sadly recent estimates indicate that there are less than 55,000 Bornean orangutans left living in the wild on the Island of Borneo in Indonesia.
As the production of palm oil increases, more and more of the Bornean orangutan’s natural habitat is being destroyed. Shockingly, it has decreased by at least 55% over the past 20 years.
Tim Rowlands, curator of animals at Chester Zoo explains, ‘Those who are responsible for their decline have pushed them to the very edge of existence – and if the rate of loss continues, they could very well be extinct in the next few decades.’
As a result of palm oil production, the number of orangutans in the wild has decreased by half in the past 60 years and they have now been categorised as critically endangered, making breeding programs such as this one at Chester Zoo all the more important to help sustain their numbers worldwide.
Watch the video above to see the adorable new baby playing with his doting mum!