New Baby Orangutan

Orangutan Maliku, with her new baby, at Twycross Zoo, Warwickshire. Photos: Lucy Ray

Twycross Zoo celebrates the birth of critically endangered Bornean orangutan

Twycross Zoo is excited to welcome into the world a critically-endangered Bornean orangutan baby, third offspring to father Batu and mother Maliku.

The new arrival is the first great ape baby to be born at the Leicestershire visitor attraction this year and an important part of a European-wide breeding programme to conserve the iconic orangutan species which faces an uncertain future in the wild.

The baby, born on 27 March 2017, is in the safe hands of experienced and attentive mum Maliku, who came to Twycross Zoo with her mother, Kibriah, in 1996.

She has since given birth to Miri, who now lives in Rostock Zoo in Germany, and Molly, who is still at Twycross Zoo and who is looking forward to playing with her new sibling.

The new baby will be growing up within a wide family group, including grandmother Kibriah and dad Batu.

However, the future of the new baby’s species in the wild is not as bright. Last year the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) changed the status of Bornean orangutans to Critically Endangered, recognising the ever decreasing population numbers.

Among the main threats for the world’s largest tree-climbing mammal species in the wild are illegal hunting and habitat loss, as the rainforests they inhabit are burned and destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations.

Twycross Zoo is a partner in the United Nations Great Ape Survival Partnership (GRASP), helping to ensure the long-term survival of great ape species and their habitat in both Asia and Africa; promoting awareness of the threats that apes such as orangutans are facing.

The orangutan youngsters at Twycross Zoo, Molly and the new baby, will stay with their mother until they become old enough to fend for themselves at around seven years of age.

In the long term, both will eventually be rehomed at other zoos, where they will meet their own mates to go on to have offspring themselves, as part of the European Endangered Species Programme that helps preserve the genetic diversity of the species and aims to conserve healthy animal populations in captivity.

Dr Charlotte Macdonald, Director of Life Sciences says, “We are thrilled by this new baby because orangutans reproduce more slowly than other ape species, which hinders the recovery of the species in the wild. Maliku is a great mother, she has done very well looking after her first two infants and we have no doubt that this baby will have all it needs to grow up into a healthy orangutan. I hope that this birth will help us highlight the plight of orangutans in the wild and that with the support of the public who visit us we can continue to work to ensure a better future for this precious species. Simple consumer actions, such as purchasing products which contain either no palm oil or sustainably sourced palm oil, can really help so each of us individually can make a big difference to this species survival.”

Do your bit to help orangutans by visiting Twycross Zoo, or by joining the zoo’s animal adoption scheme, which help support the conservation of endangered species, find out more >Twycross Zoo Animal Adoptions

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Please note: during cleaning/feeding routines the baby maybe off show, as like most of our animals the orangs also have an area where they can choose to be off show to the public if they want too.

And the name… watch this space 🙂

Twycross Zoo is open to the public from 10am to 6pm.

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Notes to Editors:

  • Now celebrating over 50 years of business, Twycross Zoo is one of the UK’s major zoos and home to one of the largest primate collections in Europe.  The zoo cares for around 150 species of animals and is the only place in the UK, and one of four worldwide, to see all four types of great ape (gorilla, orangutan, chimpanzee and bonobo) and a wide collection of gibbons.
  • Many species at Twycross Zoo are part of European Endangered Species Programmes that aim to secure the future of threatened wild species by building a safe captive population.
  • Twycross Zoo welcomes around 500,000 visitors a year to its 80-acre site in Leicestershire, funds and conducts scientific research, and has an award-winning education and outreach programme.
  • Twycross Zoo contributes to conservation in the wild through their Conservation Fund. The Fund was created in 2006 and has supported over 55 conservation and welfare projects from many different countries around the world, including Ape Action Africa in Cameroon, Lola Ya Bonobo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Cao Vit Conservation Programme in Vietnam.
  • In 2015, the Zoo launched its 20-year, £55million Masterplan. Since then, new habitats Giraffe Savannah and Gibbon Forest have opened to the public. Additional renovations and new exhibits include Lorikeet Landing, a Lemur walk-through and the Butterfly House, all of which offer visitors an immersive experience with the animals.
  • Twycross Zoo’s Himalaya Centre offers a spacious 300 seat all-day restaurant with views overlooking a Himalayan landscape enclosure for snow leopards, corporate facilities, a gift shop and a soft play attraction.
  • High-resolution images are available on request.
Opening Times: 10am - 6pm