Statue highlights orang plight

Dudley Zoo and Castle has revealed a thought-provoking new statue to help highlight the plight of the critically endangered Bornean orangutan.

The Midlands attraction joined forces with local sculptor, Luke Perry, to create the large-scale steel artwork as part of its engaging visitor interpretation around its new outdoor orangutan enclosure, which is home to six Bornean great apes, including two seven

Zoo Director, Derek Grove said: “As part of our themed interpretation around the enclosure we wanted various striking elements to help reinforce our conservation messages to visitors about palm oil, deforestation and the sad plight of the species.

“Having collaborated with Luke back in 2020 on the giant steel lemur statue in the site’s Lemur Wood, we’ve witnessed first-hand how that artwork has been a great conservation talking point for visitors and we’re sure this piece of art will prove just as popular.”

Featuring 100 steel poles, 97 of them cut off to symbolise the devastating effects of deforestation, mostly due to palm oil plantations, the sculpture, which took six months to complete, depicts a female Bornean orangutan who has been separated from her baby.

Artist, Luke Perry, of Industrial Heritage Stronghold, said: “It’s a sad statistic that there is only three per cent of the orangutans’ habitat left. The 97 short columns in the ground show how much habitat has been lost, with only three poles left.

“A mum orangutan is clinging to two of the remaining tall columns, trying to reach her child who is on the third, but is just out of reach.”

Derek added: “Luke’s latest artwork will certainly get visitors stopping in their tracks and we hope, in conjunction with further signage around the enclosure about palm oil and information on ways we can help, then taking action against the extinction of this magnificent great ape.”