Rare ape born at DZC

Keepers at Dudley Zoo and Castle (DZC) are overjoyed to announce the birth of a critically endangered Bornean orangutan.

Mum, Jazz, aged 30, has been proudly showing her newborn son to visitors over the last few days in the site’s newly-built £500,000 outdoor enclosure.

Dad to the youngster is 33-year-old Djimat, who arrived at DZC from Denmark in October last year as part of a European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) after being carefully genetically matched by studbook experts.

Upper Primates Section Leader, Pat Stevens, said: “The birth of one of the planet’s rarest animal species is so incredibly special and here at DZC we’re all thrilled with our wonderful new arrival.

“Jazz, who was born here herself, is an experienced mum, having already reared our youngest female, Sprout, who is now 11 years-old and she’s once again already proving to be a doting parent.

“The baby is gorgeous and looks to be alert and feeding well as he snuggles up to mum, while we’ve also spotted dad, Djimat, looking on lovingly at his newest offspring.”

Keepers were able to confirm Jazz’s pregnancy with a urine test and have been closely monitoring her during her eight-and-a-half month gestation, upping her daily food intake and supplementing the new mum with specialist postnatal vitamins since the birth on June 25.

The baby brings the zoo’s Bornean orangutan number to five, consisting of the family group and solitary male, Benji.

Listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List, Bornean orangutans, who share approximately 97 per cent of their DNA with humans, are one of the most threatened animal species in the world and are rapidly dwindling in number, mainly due to the loss of their habitat in their native Indonesia for the benefit of palm oil plantations, illegal logging and illegal hunting.

As part of DZC’s ongoing conservation efforts, the Midlands charity has committed £100,000 over a five-year period to fund a Forest School in Indonesia, which will allow rescued young orangutans the chance to learn basic survival skills before they’re released into a protected wild habitat.