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Critically Endangered Sumatran Orangutan Born At Belgian Animal Park

by : Emily Brown on : 09 Dec 2020 09:49
Critically Endangered Sumatran Orangutan Born At Belgian Animal ParkPairi Daiza Animal Park

The population of critically endangered Sumatran orangutans has grown by one as an animal park in Belgium welcomed a new little arrival. 

The male orangutan, named Mathaï, was born on November 28 to father Ujian and mother Sari, who managed to conceive and give birth naturally.

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Mathaï joins his parents and four-year-old brother Berani at the ‘flower temple’ in ‘the Garden of the Worlds’ at Pairi Daiza animal park, which is also home to two other adult orangutans, named Gempa and Sinta.

The newborn animal weighed one and a half kilos, a standard weight for a baby Sumatran, and was said to ‘seem healthy’ and be ‘behaving normally’. A post from the animal park on Facebook said he ‘drinks a lot, opens his eyes regularly and sticks tightly to his mum’.

Spokesperson Mathieu Goedefroy told CNN that Berani, the only other orangutan born at the park, is ‘showing great and positive interest in the new baby’.

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Mathaï will live with his family until around the age of 10, when he will reach adulthood and will have to find a female partner.

Experts from the European Endangered Species Program will then study Mathaï’s DNA, matching him with available female orangutans from around the world to find the best match to ensure ‘a healthy offspring with the best possible genetic qualities, and thus maximizing the odds of survival for the species’.

Newborn orangutanPairi Daiza/Facebook

The newborn can expect to live up to 45 years.

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Pairi Daiza’s group of Sumatran orangutans is growing thanks to a successful orangutan program, and the group will soon get even bigger as Gempa and Sinta are expecting their first child in 2021.

The park describes orangutans as ‘extremely intelligent’ animals who ‘use branches as tools to extract termites or open fruit’. The animals communicate through gestures, rather than calls, therefore using a genuine body language.

As well as supporting its own orangutans, Goedefroy said the park also funds reforestation projects in their main natural habitat. Last year, one of its programs in Indonesia planted more than 11,000 trees.

OrangutansPairi Daiza/Facebook
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Wildlife charity Born Free estimates that around 80% of irreplaceable orangutan habitat has been lost in the last three decades.

The deforestation of their rainforest habitat on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo in Indonesia has contributed to their dwindling numbers, with only around 14,000 Sumatran orangutans left. Pairi Daiza estimates only 7,000 of these are in the wild.

Sumatran orangutans are one of three identified species of orangutan. There are approximately 45,000-69,000 Bornean orangutans left, and fewer than 800 Tapanuli orangutans.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Animals, conservation, endangered species, Now

Credits

CNN and 2 others
  1. CNN

    Critically endangered Sumatran orangutan born at Belgian animal park

  2. Pairi Daiza/Facebook

    @JardinDesMondes

  3. Born Free

    Orangutans