03 06/03/2018

Baby orangutan born at Chester Zoo ‘is a girl’

Chester Zoo’s rare newborn Sumatran orangutan has been named Kesuma, which means ‘flower’ in Indonesia.

The name was chosen by the zoo’s team of primate keepers soon after they were able to confirm the newcomer’s gender.

Kesuma was born to mum Emma in December in what was a major success story for an acclaimed international breeding programme for the highly threatened species.

Sumatran orangutans are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with recent estimates suggesting just 6,500 remain in the wild.

Kesuma orangutan

Tim Rowlands, Curator of Mammals at the 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 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 in the UK from food to cleaning materials and cosmetics.

Chester Zoo 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 which cares for Sumatran orangutans.


Kesuma orangutan

Sumatran orangutan facts

  • Kesuma was born early in the morning of Monday 18 December
  • The new arrival is the fifth for mum Emma (age 30)
  • Dad is named Puluh (30)