Endangered Baby Orangutan at Twycross Zoo

Bornean orangutan

A new addition to the Twycross Zoo: a baby Bornean orangutan! Photo by Twycross Zoo.

Twycross Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of an endangered Bornean orangutan. The baby ape, born on November 28, is happy, healthy and doing very well. The newborn is 36-year-old Kibriah’s fourth offspring.

Bornean orangutan mother and baby

Mother Kibriah with her new baby.

Great Ape Team Leader, Simon Childs, said: “We’re all very proud. Kibriah is a very loving mum and she’s doing such a great job. She is holding the baby very close so we won’t know if it’s a boy or a girl just yet. When we find out the sex, we can then start to think of a name for him or her. At this stage we don’t mind what sex it is, we’re just happy to have another healthy infant.”

According to Dr. Charlotte Macdonald, Head of Life Sciences: “The Bornean orangutan is classified as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Redlist (IUCN), with fewer than 50,000 individuals remaining in the wild. As they only give birth on average once every eight years their numbers are dwindling fast as a result of the extreme rate at which forest habitat in Indonesia is being destroyed by deforestation.  Experts now agree that orangutans are likely to be extinct in the wild within the next 20 years, so successful breeding is imperative if this ape is to continue to exist on this planet in the future.”

Learn more about Bornean orangutans at our orangutan facts page.

For more about the new addition at the Twycross Zoo, see their website.

Orangutans Use iPads to Communicate

Orangutan using iPad

An orangutan uses an iPad at Miami's Jungle Island. Photo by Associated Press.

At Miami’s Jungle Island, the iPad is a huge hit with young orangutans.  They use the handheld computer tablets to draw, play games, and learn new words.

This exposure to technology is part of the zoo’s mental stimulus program. The hope is to increase communication between humans and apes.  Keepers have long used sign language to communicate with orangutans, but the iPad allows people who don’t know sign language to communicate as well.

Orangutans are highly intelligent creatures, but they lack the ability to talk.  According to Linda Jacobs, who oversees the program at Jungle Island, “They are sort of trapped in those bodies. They have the intelligence that they need to communicate, but they don’t have the right equipment, because they don’t have voice boxes or vocal cords. So this gives them a way to let us know what they know, what they are capable of, what they would like to have.”

For more info, see:

To learn more about orangutans, see Animal Fact Guide’s article: Bornean Orangutan.

Zoo Orangutan to be Released into the Wild

Orangutan

Semeru, a zoo-born Sumatran orangutan, will be released into a national park in Indonesia to help save the species from extinction.


Semeru, a six-year-old male Sumatran orangutan who was born and raised in the Perth Zoo in Australia, will be released into Bukit Tigapulah National Park in Sumatra, Indonesia.

Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered in the wild, and Semeru’s introduction into the park would increase the genetic diversity of the orangutan population there.

To ensure Semeru will be able to survive in the wild after living his whole life only in captivity, zoo keepers and veterinarians spent a year preparing him for the transition.

According to Environment Minister Bill Marmion, “Semeru will be closely monitored and supported on a daily basis with two dedicated trackers for two years and longer if necessary while he adjusts to life in the forest.

“Semeru’s pre-release preparation has included the introduction of Indonesian fruits, enrichment items to sharpen his foraging skills and access to a large fig tree to increase his fitness and hone his climbing and nest-making skills.

“Semeru has also been fitted with a radio transmitter implant which will help trackers monitor him in the dense terrain of Bukit Tigpauluh.”

Read more about Semeru at the Sydney Morning Herald website.

Great Animal Escapes

Sometimes animals outsmart us. This year, we witnessed several bold and cunning escapes.

Otter Escapes from Kansas Zoo
Kyra, a resident of the Hutchinson Zoo in Kansas, escaped from her zoo habitat on Valentine’s day and spent the week pond-hopping. Easily catching fish in other area ponds, she was unfazed by zookeeper attempts to lure her back with fish treats. But finally, she succumbed to the temptation of a hard-boiled egg.


Octopus Escapes New Zealand Aquarium

An octopus named Sid spent 5 days on the lam after escaping from his tank in a New Zealand aquarium. Sid managed to elude detection for those days by hiding in a drain that pumped fresh sea water into the aquarium.  He was caught after being spotted making a dash for an open door.


Orangutan Plans Great Escape from Adelaide Zoo

Jamming a stick into the wires of the electric fence surrounding her, Karta, a 27-year old orangutan, short-circuited the system. She then piled up debris near the concrete and glass wall and climbed out. However, after literally sitting on the fence for half an hour, she decided to go back in the enclosure after all.


Wily Prairie Dogs Escape New Exhibit at Maryland Zoo

Ten minutes after the opening of a new $500,000 prairie dog exhibit, the clever rodents found multiple escape routes.  Climbing and jumping over the walls, the prairie dogs had zoo workers in a frenzy chasing after them with nets.


Chimp Escape at the Chester Zoo

Thirty chimpanzees escaped from their enclosure at the Chester Zoo in England.  They made their way into a food preparation area and had the feast of their lives.


Harbor Seal Makes Trek into a Cape Cod Hatchery

Although this is less of an escape and more of a break-in, we had to include it. A young harbor seal was discovered in a state fish hatchery in the town of Sandwich in Cape Cod, where she had her pick of delicious trout to eat. What makes the story so interesting is that the seal would have had to waddle on land for 2 miles, including stretches on the boardwalk and through a tunnel under a busy highway, to make it into the hatchery.

Harbor Seal

Reforestation Project in Borneo

Watch a very enlightening talk by Willie Smits of the Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation about the reforestation project in Samboja Lestari, an area in Borneo devoid of fertility and viability in 2004 which is now a sustainable living environment for people, orangutans, and other wildlife.

For more information:
Samboja Lestari Page on Orangutan Outreach Website
BOS Samboja Lestari Create Rainforest Site

To learn more about Bornean orangutans, see Animal Fact Guide’s article: Bornean Orangutan.

Orangutan Plans Great Escape from Australian Zoo

At the Adelaide Zoo, Karta, a 27-year-old female orangutan hatched an ingenious plan to escape from her enclosure. Jamming a stick into the wires of the electric fence surrounding her, she short-circuited the system. She then piled up debris near the concrete and glass wall and climbed out. However, after literally sitting on the fence for half an hour, she decided to go back in the enclosure after all. Zoo veterinarians stood by with tranquilizer guns just in case.

For more info on Karta, see MSNBC.com.

To learn more about orangutans and their clever use of tools, see Animal Fact Guide’s article: Bornean Orangutan.

Orangutan Hospital

In the midst of Malaysia lies the Infant Care Unit at Bukit Merah Lake Town Resort. Unlike our conventional idea of an Infant Care Unit this one specializes in Bornean orangutans. The facility currently cares for 23 abandoned and neglected infant orangutans.

The hospital helps maintain the population of endangered Bornean orangutans.

More info and more pictures: The Daily Mail

More more info check out Animal Fact Guide’s article: Bornean Orangutan

Show Biz Orangutan Moves to Conservation Center

Popi, the orangutan who starred as Clint Eastwood’s pet in the movie Any Which Way You Can and who later headlined a slapstick comedy show in Las Vegas has recently moved to Iowa’s Great Ape Trust.  The 37-year-old ape is the oldest of six total orangutans at the research and conservation center.  Popi has already settled in and befriended two of the other orangutans.

Popi the orangutan

Robert Shumaker, the trust’s orangutan research director, regards the arrival of Popi as a significant event. “I think as far as ape welfare, this is one of the most important things I’ve been involved with in my career.”

Shumaker has opposed apes working in the entertainment field because many trainers abuse animals.  Furthermore, when people see orangutans on screen, they assume the apes are abundant, when in fact, orangutans are endangered in the wild.

For more information about Popi:
DesMoinesRegister.com
Great Ape Trust

Read more about orangutans on Animal Fact Guide.