Chester Zoo’s new female Sumatran Orangutan has been named Kesuma, which means ‘flower’ in Indonesia. Primate keepers chose the name soon after they were able to confirm the infant’s sex.
Kesuma was born to her 30-year-old mum, Emma, and 30-year-old dad, Puluh, on December 18, 2017.
The birth marked a major success story for an acclaimed international breeding programme for the highly threatened species. Sumatran Orangutans are currently listed as “Critically Endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with recent estimates suggesting 6,500 remaining in the wild.
Tim Rowlands, Curator of Mammals at Chester Zoo, said: “Emma’s baby girl, Kesuma, is her fifth youngster, and she’s such a good mum. She’s incredibly attentive, and it’s wonderful to see her and her latest arrival forging close bonds.”
“She’s an incredibly important arrival for the conservation breeding programme and can hopefully throw a spotlight on the huge pressures that her cousins are facing in the wild.”
The Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii) is one of the world’s most endangered great apes. It is among the many species being pushed to the brink of extinction in South East Asia by hunting, forest clearance and the planting of oil palm plantations, which are destroying vast areas of rainforest. There is intense demand for the oil, which features in all sorts of every day products, throughout the world, from food to cleaning materials and cosmetics.
Chester Zoo, in the UK, is currently leading a major new campaign to make Chester the world’s first ‘Sustainable Palm Oil City.’ Zoo conservationists are working with restaurants, cafes, hotels, fast food outlets, schools and workplaces in the city to introduce sustainable palm oil policies into their supply chain. The campaign is striving to increase the use of palm oil that is produced sustainably and help to protect the rainforests of South East Asia.
Chester Zoo is currently the only zoo in mainland Britain caring for Sumatran Orangutans.