tiny newcomer was spotted in its mums arms by keeping staff whilst they were
doing their daily morning checks on Thursday 3 September.
Keepers at the zoo say mum Subis, 28, gave
birth in the early hours of the morning following an eight-and-half-month
The new arrival - the fifth for Subis
– has certainly provided cause for celebration at the zoo. Sumatran orangutans
are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the
Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and face an extremely high risk of extinction in
the wild, meaning every new addition to the European Endangered Species
Breeding Programme is vitally important.
curator of mammals at the zoo, said:
“It was a
fabulous to come in and see a tiny pair of arms clinging to Subis. She’s an excellent, very
experienced mum and we know she’ll do a brilliant job of caring for her new
“Subis herself was born here in 1986
and has since had four other young, but this is the first Sumatran orangutan to
be born here at the zoo in just under three years, so the team is absolutely
Sumatran orangutans are found only on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia where
it’s estimated that less than 6,500 remain. The species has come under threat due largely to the destruction of its habitat for
logging, wholesale conversion of forest to palm oil plantations and hunting.
Mr Rowlands added:
“To watch Subis cradling her new arrival
is a truly wonderful sight and we just hope that the pair help us to raise a
little more awareness of their cousins in the wild that face enormous threats
on a day-to-day basis. Sadly, without continued conservation work, the Sumatran
orangutan could become the first great ape to become extinct in the wild.”
Subis and her baby can currently be
seen in the zoo’s Realm of the Red Ape (RORA) exhibit, alongside other Sumatran
orangutans Puluh, Emma, Indah, Tripa and Tuti who will all be moving into their
brand new exhibit at the zoo’s £40m Islands development later in the year.
Chester Zoo is also working with the species in the wild and its Realm of the
Red Ape Conservation Programme is helping field workers in Sumatra to restore
forests in which Sumatran orangutans live. As part of its Act for Wildlife
programme, the zoo also supports the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Project in
Sumatra, which supports education work in schools close to areas where
deforestation occurs and aims to teach children about the importance of
preserving the biodiversity around them.
In October the zoo will launch its annual Go Orange for Orangutans – a campaign
to help save the species in the wild. Visit www.chesterzoo.org/goorange for more.