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Monkey World News

My Kai!!

The Daily Echo
30 March 2005

A BABY orangutan born at Monkey World has been given the name Kai. And the youngster and his mother HsiaoQuai are helping other orangutans at the ape rescue sanctuary near Wool learn how to look after their offspring.

"We needed to make the name simple and also something that was Chinese, because Kai's parents are from Taiwan," said Jim Cronin, who runs Monkey World with his wife, Dr Alison Cronin.

"This programme has come about from our hugely successful friendship with the people of Taiwan and the Ping Tung Rescue Centre."

Two female orangutans at Monkey World have now given birth and neither initially knew how to look after their babies because they themselves were orphans, so had no role model.

However, with a little help from staff at the sanctuary, HsiaoQuai was taught how to breastfeed Kai.

It is hoped that other orangutan females at the rescue centre will get the idea having seen how the mother is looking after her baby.

The naming of Kai, who was born earlier this month, represents the next step in a programme to encourage the orangutans to breed.

Conservation experts fear the species could become extinct in the wild within 10 years.

Mr Cronin said: "We wanted a name that was easy for English people to say. We spoke to our Taiwanese friends and this name felt instantly simple and also has a meaning of triumph and victorious."

Kai is one of a number of young orangutans now living at Monkey World, including 18-month-old Aris, in what Mr Cronin described as a gorgeous nursery.

He added: "Monkey World is probably more successful than anyone else in Europe when it comes to baby orangutans surviving.

"There are male orangutans in Taiwan on the waiting list to come here.

"This is the beginning of a programme at Monkey World that is crucial for the survival of the species."

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