Ape keepers at Durrell are hopeful that this spring will bring the patter of more tiny feet to the Trinity Wildlife Park. It has today been announced that two of the conservation charity’s orangutans are expecting.
Female orangutans Anette, who is 30 years old, is due to give birth in mid April and Dana who is 25, in mid May; both babies have been fathered by 27 year old Dagu.
Discussing the great news Gordon Hunt Deputy Head of Mammals at Durrell said “The Sumatran orangutan is in serious danger of disappearing from this planet. Our six orangutans – hopefully soon to become eight - are a vital genetic reserve and powerful ambassadors for their wild cousins, whom most people will never see, but can have a huge impact upon their future. We have an excellent orangutan enclosure and consequent breeding success.. It is common for people to question the need for great apes in captivity. We constantly question and endeavour to improve our methods, but our motive is sound - to conserve the Sumatran orangutan. These births will be very important.
Plus there is more good news for the Sumatran orangutans as this week Durrell will present the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) with a donation of £9000 towards their invaluable work with this Critically Endangered species. The sizeable sum has been accumulated from cash donations to Durrell’s collection boxes situated within the park over a period of five years.
Dr Ian Singleton who was a keeper at Durrell from 1988 to 1997 is the Conservation Director of the SOCP, a unique collaborative programme of NGOs and the Indonesian government fighting for the survival of the orangutan in Sumatra. This comprehensive and integrated programme includes not only orangutan reintroduction, but also research, habitat protection and environmental education. The funds will go directly towards the protection of wild free living orangutans and the care and upkeep of those that cannot be released back into the wild.
Images by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and by Richard Wainwright