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01 22/01/2016

Primates settle into new home

  • Orangutans
  • Mammals
  • Silvery gibbons

Our seven Sumatran orangutans have now moved to their new home in Islands and are settling in well with their new neighbours - two adult silvery gibbons and their 12-day-old new-born.

In one of our previous blogs we shared with you the vital design and planning processes we went through to make sure this 3,607m sq enclosure was all set for its new occupants. This new exhibit includes state-of-the-art breeding facilities as well as a variety of climbing options for the primates – including ropes, rockwork, trees, webbing and sway poles.

Orangutan enclosure in Islands at Chester Zoo

SUmatran orangutan enclosure at Chester Zoo

Sumatran orangutan enclosure at Chester Zoo

It's important to have as many different types of climbing options to stimulate more natural behaviours

The below video shows the Sumatran orangutans and silvery gibbons exploring their new home:

The two primate species are being pushed to the edge of extinction as a result of habitat destruction; with less than 6,500 Sumatran orangutans and less than 4,500 silvery gibbons left in the wild.

Our curator of mammals, Tim Rowlands, tells us more: 

Without vital conservation efforts, Sumatran orangutans and silvery gibbons could both become extinct in the near future. We just hope that this fantastic new environment at the zoo will encourage visitors to learn more about these stunning species and the long-term conservation efforts we’re involved with to try and protect them for the future.

The zoo is working with a number of conservation partners to restore and protect habitats across Sumatra and Borneo and in the UK where we’re encouraging businesses to source palm oil products from sustainable retailers in their supply chain. Habitat destruction, to make way for palm oil plantations is something that’s really impacting on animals like orangutans and gibbons but the work we’re doing is helping to shape a brighter future for them, and a range of threatened species in the region of South East Asia. 

We want to showcase just how much careful work goes into the conservation of such a charismatic species and, by doing so, hope we’ll inspire a new generation of people to really care about wildlife, especially those species that are hanging on to survival by a thread.

We hope you'll be able to come and visit them in their new home in Islands soon, but in the meantime here are some photos of them settling in to their new space in Monsoon Forest:

Sumatran orangutans in new home at Chester Zoo

Silvery gibbon in new home at Chester Zoo

Sumatran orangutan at Chester Zoo

Silvery gibbons at Chester Zoo 

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