Blackpool Zoo has welcomed its first critically endangered Bornean orangutan baby for more than two decades after first-time mother Jingga gave birth in the early hours of Wednesday 14th June. Visitors will be able to see the infant, which keepers have confirmed as male, when the orangutan house is reopened on Saturday 1st July following a short period of closure to allow mother and son to bond.
Jingga, who is 13, came to Blackpool in 2017 from her birthplace in Barcelona and the baby’s father, Kawan, joined her, along with Blackpool born Cherie and Summer, in 2022. Kawan, who is also 13, arrived from Apenheul Zoo in the Netherlands and was an instant hit with the females.
The newest addition to the group is very special indeed as the species is in real danger of becoming extinct in the wild and Blackpool’s group of orangutans are part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP). Darren Webster, Director at Blackpool Zoo, said: “The arrival of this very special baby is wonderful news, not just for us here at Blackpool Zoo, but for the species too.
“One of our resident females, Summer, was the last baby to be born here and we have been working hard to create a breeding group to help safeguard the future of this magnificent species.
“Kawan’s arrival marked the beginning of a new start after our previous male, Ramon moved to a group in Germany that was more suited to him for breeding. Ramon settled in well in his new family and has now become a father himself, so we are delighted that the move was a huge success for both collections.
“Kawan was selected to form a breeding group at Blackpool Zoo following extensive talks with experts from the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) and specialist keepers from the UK and beyond.
“The Bornean orangutan was classified as critically endangered in July 2016 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This means that this species now faces an “extremely high” risk of extinction in the wild. This makes breeding programmes such as the EEP absolutely vital and we are hoping that this is the start of a new generation of beautiful Bornean orangutans here at Blackpool Zoo.”
The group of five live in Blackpool Zoo’s £1million Orangutan Outlook facility, which has been specially designed to meet the complicated needs of the magnificent species.
The zoo's also home to elephants, giraffes, big cats, gorillas, sea lions, primates, zebras and kangaroos. It is open every day of the year, apart from Christmas Day, from 10am. For more information visit www.blackpoolzoo.org.uk