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Monkey World News

Baby Orang-Utan Born at UK Ape Centre

Scotsman

A baby orang-utan has been born in a British rescue centre, it emerged today. Proud mother 11-year-old Hsiao-Quai endured a 55-minute labour to give birth to her as yet unnamed son at Monkey World ape rescue centre, in Wool, Dorset, on Tuesday. Staff were initially worried that Hsiao-Quai would not know how to care for her baby because she is an orphan and has never learnt the maternal instinct. But Alison Cronin, who runs Monkey World, said: “She has been attentive from the moment she was born. She cleaned him up, trimmed his cord, has cuddled him and kept him warm. “When he grizzles she immediately showers him with little kisses so he knows she is around.” The only worry was that Hsiao-Quai did not know how to feed her baby but, with a little encouragement from the centre’s operations manager Jeremy Keeling, the baby soon made his way to his mother’s nipple and began feeding. Orang-utans grow up to 180lb and so the centre does not expect the boy to stay small for too long. Mrs Cronin, 38, said 16-year-old father Tuan’s eyes “stayed glued” to the window when his son was being born. “I don’t know how he knew, but he knew something was going on and on that day he stayed glued to that window and wouldn’t move.” Mrs Cronin said there were an estimated 20,000 orang-utans left in the wild in Borneo and Sumatra and that they were a critically endangered species. She said that biologists estimate that orang-utans will be extinct in the wild in the next decade. Hsiao-Quai was smuggled out of Borneo into Taiwan by illegal pet traders after her mother was shot, she said. Monkey World took her from a rescue centre in Taiwan after she was confiscated from an amusement park where she was caged outside to attract visitors. Tuan also comes from Borneo, Mrs Cronin said, and was smuggled into Taiwan. She believes he was let loose after becoming too big for his owners to care for. She said he was caught after spending three days wandering the streets in central Taiwan. Monkey World has 11 orang-utans at the centre and 165 monkeys and apes in total. Mrs Cronin added: “We are just so pleased about something positive coming out of all this tragedy.”

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