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Paignton Zoo’s baby Bornean orang utan Tatau is celebrating her first birthday.

She was born on 11th April 2013 to mother Mali and father Demo.

Paignton Zoo Environmental Park Director of Operations and Curator of Mammals Neil Bemment said: “She is doing well. Her progress is fairly typical for a one-year old orang. She is not weaned yet, but tries any food that is passing on the way to mum’s mouth! She picks at the watery soft items like cucumbers and tomatoes, but is mainly just sucking on them wistfully!”

At first the tiny baby was only seen clinging to mum, but now her climbing skills are slowly beginning to develop. “She explores, but still does not venture far from mum. Mali is proving to be a very good mother.”

While Tatau is still too young to have a discernable character, she is certainly endearing to watch. She can often be seen with her mother on one of the islands linked to the Zoo’s Ape House.

The Bornean orang utan (Pongo pygmaeus) is threatened by hunting, the pet trade and the destruction of its rainforest habitat. Forest is being destroyed to create palm oil plantations. Given the declining populations, measures such as switching to alternative oil products and maintaining sustainable populations of orangs in zoos are becoming ever more important.

Paignton Zoo and Living Coasts are working to become palm-oil free sites. Curator of Mammals Neil Bemment is vice-coordinator of the orang-utan European Endangered species Programme, which coordinates the efforts of top European zoos to conserve the species.

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