Chester Zoo recently shared video of their five-year-old Sumatran Orangutan, named Tuti, pestering her aunt Emma in a most mischievous way.
Thirty-year-old Emma gave birth to a female, Kesuma, on December 18. (See the ZooBorns feature on Kesuma: “Chester Zoo Introduces Early Spring ‘Flower’).
Chester Zoo’s adorable new footage shows the attention-seeking Tuti using multiple sticks to “wind up” new-mum Emma, as she looks to play with her baby cousin.
Chester Zoo is currently the only zoo in mainland Britain that cares for Sumatran Orangutans, which can be found in its South East Asian Islands habitat.
Sumatran Orangutans (Pongo abelii) are one of the world’s most endangered great apes and are currently listed as “Critically Endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with recent estimates suggesting just 14,000 remain in the wild.
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.
Unfortunately, there is an intense demand for palm oil, which can be found in more than 50% of every day products in the UK, and around the world, including food, cleaning and cosmetic goods.
Cat Barton, Field Conservation Manager at Chester Zoo, said, “All species of Orangutan are under enormous pressure in the wild, as their forest homes are cleared to make way for oil palm plantations. Right now we are fighting for these amazing animals in South East Asia – helping restore depleted forests and building bridges so Orangutans can roam between forests freely.”
“We can all help make a huge difference here in the UK by being vigilant when shopping in supermarkets and checking labels to make sure products only contain sustainable palm oil. It’s a small action that will, in time, make a huge difference to their future. Without urgent action they could be the first great apes to go extinct. We just cannot let that happen.”
Because of its efficiency, palm oil is still a widely used ingredient. It requires less space to produce than any other vegetable oil, so zoo conservationists are campaigning to increase demand for sustainable palm oil and improve the sustainable scheme, rather than avoiding palm oil entirely.
Chester Zoo is working with its neighbouring businesses and restaurants to turn Chester into the UK’s first “Sustainable Palm Oil City”.
Conservationists from the Zoo are also currently partnering Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) overseas in South East Asia who are working to improve and develop policies within schemes such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to protect the rainforests and biodiversity in the region.