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PICTURES: Baby orang utan Tatau warms visitors' hearts at zoo

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 06, 2013

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Snuggled inside her mother's long hair against the cold, Paignton Zoo's baby orang utan is flourishing.

Bornean orang utan Tatau, who was born at the environmental park in April, ended the zoo's long wait after female Gambira arrived in March 1997.

She has been successfully raised by her mother Mali, one of five orang utans at the zoo, with little interference from keepers.

"Mali has been such a good mother," zoo spokesman Philip Knowling said. "She just quietly gets on with it. It is the best thing in the world for a mother to rear their young naturally.

"Hand rearing from our point of view is the less good option because it can affect how the animal might behave when they are older."

Tatau, named after a place in Sarawak where her great grandmother Tjantike came from, was this week pictured hunkered in her mother's protective hair.

Mali, unperturbed by the chill, tucked into a frozen lolly of fruit juice and fuchsia flowers.

Although declining in number, the population of Bornean orang utans is estimated to be 50,000. They are threatened by hunting, the pet trade and the destruction of its rainforest habitat to create palm oil plantations.

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