woensdag 19 augustus 2015

Orphan baby orang-utans graduate to the monkey world crèche

In time for World Orang-utan Day on 19th August, Sumatran orang-utan orphans Bulu Mata and Rieke have moved into a purpose-built playroom crèche inside Europe’s Orang-utan Nursery at Monkey World in Dorset. 

Baby girl, Rieke, arrived from Berlin Zoo in February having been rejected at birth by her mother.  She joined her new adopted brother, Bulu Mata, who came from Budapest Zoo in December after his mother sadly died unexpectedly. Both are being looked after by specialist Primate Care Staff at Dorset’s world-renowned primate sanctuary, in preparation for joining their new adopted family of orang-utans at the park.

Monkey World is home to the only European crèche for orphaned orang-utans and, as such, provides sanctuary for any infants or youngsters that are not cared for by their mothers. The specially designed nursery building has a gymnasium-sized playroom fitted out with climbing frames, hammocks, and ropes to encourage natural, arboreal orang-utan behaviour. Most importantly there are 6 other orang-utans living there that include orphans from UK, Spain, Taiwan, Hungary and South Africa – some of which were smuggled from the wild before being confiscated from the black market trade.

Primate Care Staff had been feeding and caring for the babies around the clock, but they now spend every day in their new bespoke playroom, which has been built into the main orang-utan nursery. In this way, they can see and interact with the other orang-utans from the safety of a baby-friendly area. When Rieke and Bulu Mata are strong enough to climb the huge main nursery playroom unaided, they will join the rest of the group, which includes two adult females, Hsiao-quai and Oshine, an adolescent male, Kai, and youngsters Jin, Silvestre and Awan. This is a great environment for them as it is essential that Rieke and Bulu Mata are able to live and grow up with other orang-utans in order to learn all the skills they need to survive, socialise, and hopefully one day start families of their own.

Bulu Mata © Monkey World – Ape Rescue Centre

Monkey World’s Director, Dr Alison Cronin, said “Bulu Mata and Rieke have made great progress since arriving at Monkey World. Both babies have put on weight, have been teething, and are now climbing, playing, and developing very strong muscles. This is really important as we are planning to introduce them to the rest of the orang-utans in our nursery group in the coming weeks. It is essential we know the babies are strong enough and coordinated enough to move about the huge nursery climbing frame on their own. Their safety is paramount but it is almost time for them to join the other orang-utans full time.”

“For now, Bulu Mata and Rieke still go home with our Primate Care Staff as their last feed is at 9.00pm. Bulu Mata now weighs 6.9kg and Rieke is 5kg. They are fed 6 times per day and are both taking soft fruit and baby rice in addition to their milk. Rieke is a particularly good eater and both babies seem to enjoy each other’s company!”

Visitors can see the babies in their new playroom at Monkey World.  The park is open to the public every day, except Christmas Day, from 10am to 5pm (10am to 6pm during July and August).  For more details, please go to www.monkeyworld.org.


1. Specific items needed for the primates at Monkey World, including Rieke and Bulu Mata, are listed at the Monkey World Wish List on Amazon.com at: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/registry/wishlist/?ie=UTF8&cid=A13VVEKL02T331

2. Download this charity fundraising music video featuring the orang-utans from Monkey World at:
Rieke © Monkey World – Ape Rescue Centre
Nick Mertens
19 augustus 2015

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