Chester Zoo is celebrating the birth of a critically-endangered Sumatran orangutan.
The baby boy was safely delivered by mum, Subis, on November 14 and keepers say they are still trying to think up a fitting name for the adorable ape.
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Mike Jordan, director of animal and plant collections said his birth is another success story for the zoo’s acclaimed international breeding programme, as the Sumatran orangutan is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). And, as a result of hunting and habitat loss caused by illegal logging and the palm oil industry, is one of the world’s most endangered great apes, with fewer than 14,000 surviving in the wild. Mike said:
“The arrival of a new baby in the family of Sumatran orangutans is always cause for celebration. Subis is a great mum and she is being really attentive to her newborn. The pair are inseparable as they get to know one another.
“The new arrival is especially important to the international breeding programme, which is providing a real lifeline for the species, given that Sumatran orangutans are so highly threatened. This new baby helps us to further highlight the mass-scale rainforest destruction that is occurring on the other side of the planet and raise some much-needed awareness of the plight of their cousins in the wild”
As the global human population has increased, more and more land has been cleared in South East Asia to make way for palm oil plantations. Palm oil is a highly efficient oil, which is found in more than 50 per cent of supermarket products. As the demand for unsustainable palm oil intensifies, more and more orangutans are being pushed towards extinction.
The effect is devastating, but Mike knows a way you can help. He said:
“People can help these wonderful, charismatic animals while shopping in supermarkets, simply by, making sure they’re buying only products containing certified sustainable palm oil. It sounds like an incredibly small action, but this will create a snowball effect and send a message to suppliers that we demand change.”
“Demanding sustainable palm oil could halt the destruction of rainforests across Sumatra and Borneo and help protect the remaining orangutans – together we can all help prevent their extinction.”
Earlier this year the zoo’s conservationists successfully made the city of Chester the world’s first Sustainable Palm Oil City. Working alongside restaurants, cafes, hotels, fast food outlets, schools and workplaces in the city, the zoo helped revamp supply chains to only include palm oil from sustainable, deforestation-free suppliers.
Chester is currently the only zoo in mainland Britain which cares for Sumatran orangutans.
Also published on Medium.