A “very special” baby orangutan, whose birth could kickstart a new generation of the critically endangered species, has been shown off by his proud mother.

The five-week-old, yet to be named, is Blackpool Zoo’s first Bornean orangutan baby for more than 20 years and has boosted conservation efforts.

On Saturday (July 22) his mother, Jingga, 13, thrilled visitors to the Lancashire tourist attraction by holding him towards the viewing windows with her arms outstretched and head bowed.

Zoo boss Darren Webster said: “The arrival of this very special baby is wonderful news, not just for us here at Blackpool Zoo, but for the species too.

“The Bornean orangutan was classified as critically endangered in July 2016 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. This means that this species now faces an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.

“This makes breeding programmes such as the European Endangered Species Programme absolutely vital, and we are hoping that this is the start of a new generation of beautiful Bornean orangutans here at Blackpool Zoo.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

The baby, who will stay with his mother until he is about seven-years-old so he can develop the skills needed to be independent, smiled through the glass as visitors murmured excitedly and filmed on their mobile phones.

He was born as part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) and described as “very special” by keepers when they announced his birth in June.

Jingga arrived at the zoo from her birthplace, Barcelona, in 2017.

The baby’s father, Kawan, also 13, arrived from a Dutch zoo in 2022 and was picked to form a breeding group after talks with EEP experts and specialist keepers.

Blackpool Zoo has been at the centre of several big conservation projects recently; in May it welcomed three new lionesses to keep its sole lion Khari company in a new £1.5 million big cat habitat, where a male tiger also joined tigress Alyona earlier this month.

In 2019 it introduced male Asian elephant Emmett to its parade of females in the hope of generating a “multi-generational herd”.

More information about Blackpool Zoo and their orangutans can be found here.