Baby Oran Utan Joy For Devon Zoo

16 April 2013, 06:00

It may have been a long time in coming, but for staff at a west country zoo the arrival of this baby orang utan was well worth the wait.

The as-yet unnamed and un-sexed baby ape may be just a few days old but it is already getting a lot of attention from staff and visitors to Paignton Zoo Environmental Park.

And little wonder - it is the first orang utan born at the zoo since the turn of the millennium. Bornean orang utan Mali gave birth on Thursday last week - ending the long wait at Paignton Zoo since female Gambira arrived into the world on March 22 1997. 

Neil Bemment, the zoo's director of operations and curator of mammals, said: 

"We are absolutely thrilled that our years of patience have been rewarded and that Mali is proving to be an excellent and attentive mother. The babies are such enchanting and vulnerable-looking creatures that you can't help but want to do something to save orangs from extinction.''

 Zoo spokesman Phil Knowling said: 

"Mother and baby have access to the show dens in the Ape Centre but inevitably the baby is going to be difficult to spot at first. It should be more active and a great draw for the summer season.'' 

Bornean orang utans have suffered declines but the population is estimated at around 50,000. They are threatened by hunting, the pet trade and the destruction of their rainforest habitat. 

The Devon zoo now has five Bornean orang utans, including male Demo (14) and females Gambira (16), Chinta (22) and Mali (18).