Baby orangutan born at Chester Zoo

Bowdlenews No. 1 – May 2018

This baby Orangutan girl called ‘Kesuma’ which means ‘flower’ in Indonesia, was born in December at Chester Zoo to Emma and it was her 5th baby.  Chester Zoo is doing a huge amount to save one of the worlds most endangered great apes. Planting Palm Oil forests in Sumatra is destroying habitat and massively threatening this species and it is thought there are only 6500 remaining in the world.  The zoo is mounting a campaign to make production of Palm Oil sustainable.

It was a major success story for an acclaimed international breeding programme for the highly threatened species.  Sumatran orangutans are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with recent estimates suggesting just 6,500 remain in the wild.

Curator of mammals at the zoo Tim Rowlands said: “She’s an incredibly important arrival for the conservation breeding programme and can hopefully throw a spotlight on the huge pressures that her cousins are facing in the wild.”

It is among the many species being pushed to the brink of extinction in South East Asia by hunting, forest clearance and the planting of oil palm plantations, which are destroying vast areas of rainforest.

There is intense demand for the oil, which features in all sorts of every day products in the UK from food to cleaning materials and cosmetics. Chester Zoo is currently leading a major new campaign to make Chester the world’s first ‘Sustainable Palm Oil City.’ Zoo conservationists are working with restaurants, cafes, hotels, fast food outlets, schools and workplaces in the city to introduce sustainable palm oil policies into their supply chain.

The campaign is striving to increase the use of palm oil that is produced sustainably and help to protect the rainforests of South East Asia.

Chester Zoo is currently the only zoo in mainland Britain which cares for Sumatran orangutans.