Weekend wibble: Newborn orang-utan at Perth Zoo!

mother and baby orangutan

There’s a new baby orangutan at the Perth zoo! *dies of teh cute*

There’s video of the new arrival here at the West, including a keeper who is obviously completely smitten with the orangs.

Transcription of the video by the marvellous Quixotess:

Clarissa Phillips [in voiceover, over adorable footage of mother and baby orangutans. The mother orang cuddles and carries the baby, and is also shown cuddling with keepers and wandering around playing]: Perth Zoo has unveiled its newest addition: a tiny female Sumatran orangutan. Born just four weeks ago, the unnamed baby was born weighing just under two kilograms on October 20th, to 39 year old Puteri. The 27th critically endangered animal bred at the zoo since 1970.

[Leif Cocks, Perth Zoo Exotics Curator, is being interviewed at the zoo.]

Leif: Orangutan mothers are better than humans, and they get twenty-four hour care, nursing, and love. So they basically um spend the first five, six years in a sea of love from their mothers. So um they grow up to be very very self-confident, and really um um stable individuals.

Clarissa [still in voiceover, as she is throughout the video, over more footage of mother and baby]: This is Puteri’s third offspring from the breeding program.

Leif: She’s had Yutama, who lives here, as well as Tamara, who now lives in the jungles of [indistinguishable] National Park as part of our breed for release program.

Clarissa: And the baby’s already developing a personality of her own.

Leif: She seems to be a really nice positive personality with a really good nature. And they seem to have very fixed personalities from very young. Um, like Tamara her sister was a ratbag from day one, and she seems to be a bit more like her mum, bit more, um, bit more cuddly air and friendly.

Clarissa: Up to six thousand orangutans die each year, their natural habitat in Malaysia and Indonesia destroyed to expand palm oil plantations. Perth Zoo has joined forces with other Australian zoos to campaign for the mandatory labelling of palm oil.

Carol Shannon, Perth Zoo Director of Corporate and Commercial Development, in interview: We have them sign post cards, we, um, have them returned back here to the zoo, and they’re all submitted as part of the, um, push to federal government to, to mandate the change.

Leif: Unless we do things to stop, for example, expansion of palm oil plantations destroying their habitat, they will go extinct.

Clarissa: People can sign the postcards at the zoo, or an online petition at the Perth Zoo’s website. Meanwhile, the public has its chance to name the baby orangutan on the West Australian’s website, from November 21st to December 4th. Clarissa Phillips, reporting for West TV.

Categories: environment

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5 replies

  1. I loved Leif! He seemed so very into them, just completely in love. Sorry for not sufficiently describing the adorable footage. 🙂
    And soooooo cute. Sometimes monkeys and apes and orangutans are in uncanny valley for me, but not right now, they’re both just so beautiful. I love the connection of a loving guardian to stability and self-confidence–and when Leif referred to them as “individuals” I loved that too.

  2. That is cute in extremis.
    Wonderful animal.
    We were at Bohorek Orang Rehab Station in Sumatra some years ago slogging our way up the wet slippery path in the rain forest sweating buckets and lagging behind the others [“C’mon grandpa, keep up!” from the Sumatran young fella, cheeky so and so] heading for the place where they randomly feed the orangs who are in transition to full independence.
    We heard a soft scuffle behind us and felt a soft tap on the shoulder [this is absolutely fair dinkum] and looked around to see an orang mum holding the hand of a youngster, both walking bipedally, and she clearly was politely asking for us to step aside on the narrow path so they could pass and get to the station on time.
    So we did.
    We spent a couple of hours at the station just quietly watching.
    My impression of orangs was previously sadly fixed by the image of “George” the old male orang who lived for years at the Adelaide zoo [not a topic on which to dwell] and who was not happy.
    These orangs at Bohorek were different.
    Grace personified.
    Not the heavy clambering creature I had imagined but lithe acrobats of incredible beauty and brimming with personality.
    One of the better days of our lives.

  3. That Orang baby has the same expression my son has when I try to kiss him.
    Most of you already know this, but avoid products with palm oil – besides being bad for you, they’re very very bad for baby orangutans. (As is imported rainforest timber.)

  4. Orangutans are fanfuckingtastic.
    I can’t find the ObPratchett quote I wanted, about the astonishing power that orangs have considering they’re just a collection of long levers covered with baggy skin and stringy hair.

  5. Like I needed another excuse to go to the zoo. ZOO TIME!

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