Paignton Zoo is celebrating a second orang utan birth in 9 months.

Bornean orang utan Chinta gave birth on Sunday 22nd December.

Paignton Zoo Environmental Park Director of Operations and Curator of Mammals Neil Bemment said: “You wait 16 years and then two babies come along in nine months!” One of the Zoo’s other females, Mali, gave birth to a female baby named Tatau in April.

“Mother and baby have had time together in their off show den away from people and the wind and the rain, but they should have access to the show den in the Ape Centre from the weekend of 11th January. Inevitably, the baby is going to be difficult to spot at first. It should be more active in a few months.”

Keepers think the youngster is another female, although no vet checks have been carried out as yet.

Bornean orang utans have suffered declines but the population is estimated at
around 50,000. To put this in context, there are fewer Bornean orang utans in the entire world than there are human beings in Torquay (the population of Torquay is about 62,000).

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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