Blackpool born critically endangered orangutan welcomes first baby

Photo credit: Alison Allen

A critically endangered orangutan at Blackpool Zoo has become a mother for the first time.

Summer, the Bornean orangutan, gave birth to a healthy baby boy during the night on Sunday 28th April.

Both mother and baby, who is yet to be named, are doing really well and living happily alongside another first-time mum, Jingga, and her son Jarang.

The father of both youngsters is Kawan, who came to Blackpool Zoo in 2022, from Apenheul Zoo in the Netherlands as part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP).

Darren Webster, Zoo Director at Blackpool Zoo, said: “After more than 20 years of waiting we are delighted to have had two beautiful Bornean orangutans born in Blackpool in the past 12 months.

“Kawan’s arrival marked 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 Ex-Situ Programme (EEP) and specialist keepers from the UK and beyond.

“Summer was born here at Blackpool Zoo in 2002 and I’ve watched her grow and flourish over the last 22 years.  To see her become a mother is a huge honour and testament to the incredible work and experience of our primate team. 

“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 delighted to be welcoming a new generation of beautiful Bornean orangutans here at Blackpool Zoo.”

The group of five live in Blackpool Zoo’s £1 million Orangutan Outlook facility, which has been specially designed to meet the complicated needs of the magnificent species. 

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