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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mummy's little girl: Emma the orangutan holds newborn daughter close after giving birth at Chester Zoo

By Sarah Johnson

This baby orangutan may have been born in captivity but that hasn't stopped her mother from holding her close.

Emma, the Sumatran orangutan, gave birth to her daughter three days ago and has not let her out of her sight since.

The, as yet unnamed, newborn is the latest addition to the Realm of the Red Ape exhibit at Chester Zoo which houses a group of the critically endangered Sumatran orangutans.

Proud mother: Emma, a Sumatran orangutan, looks at the camera as she cradles her newborn daughter

These adorable images show the tenderness and love that Emma bestows on her daughter.

She cradles her newborn in her arms while looking proudly at the camera before another photograph captures her gazing lovingly at the baby orangutan.

Not one for missing the action, however, the infant manages to poke her head out from underneath her mother's fur to see what is going on around her.

She looks straight at the lens before something catches her attention and she looks away.

Emma who was also born at the zoo, in 1987, gazes lovingly at the newest addition to the family

Sumatran orangutans originally come from the Island of Sumatra in Indonesia and live in tropical and subtropical forests in the lowlands as well as in mountainous areas up to a height of 1500m.

When fully grown, they can measure up to 1.4 metres tall and weigh up to 90 kilogrammes.

Orangutans are the only great ape found outside of Africa.

Their numbers in the wild have decreased from more than 12,000 in the mid 1990s to just 6,500 in recent years.

Peek-a-boo! Emma holds her unnamed three-day-old baby close to her body at Chester Zoo

A mother's love: The unnamed baby orangutan gazes up at the camera from the safety of it's mother's protective embrace

Wide-eyed: Enveloped in its mother's fur, the three-day-old orangutan catches sight of something up above

They are threatened by habitat loss with land being used for agricultural development and logging. Severe droughts and forest fires also play their part.

The animals are hunted for meat, traditional medicine and the pet trade.

With less than 900,000 hectares of suitable habitat remaining, it’s possible that this could be the first great ape to become extinct in the wild.



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