Keepers arriving to work at Chester Zoo on September 3rd found a fluffy orange new arrival. In the course of their morning checks they found that 28 year old Sumatran orang-utan, Subis had given birth in the early hours of the morning.
Curator of mammals for Chester Zoo, Tim Rowlands 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 baby.”
Suibis and her infant are currently living in the zoo’s Realm of the Red Ape habitat alongside 5 other orangutans. In the latter half of this year the group will move to the £40 million Islands exhibit.
This is Subis’s fifth infant as Rowlands explained, “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 thrilled.
Any baby orangutan at the zoo is a welcome addition as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists this species as being at high risk of extinction in the wild. This species lives on just the one Indonesian Island, Sumatra. Here their numbers have been reduced to 6,500 by the destruction of their habitat as a result of conversion to palm oil plantations and logging.
“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,” added Rowlands.
Chester Zoo supports the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Project on the front line in Sumatra which educates children at schools on the island on how important conserving these animals is.
Photo Credit: Chester Zoo