Malaysia: Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre welcomes three newborns

Olivia Miwil New Straits Times 13 Jul 18;

SANDAKAN: Three orangutans raised at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre here delivered infants recently.

Sixteen-year-old Rosa, who lost her mother at a young age, gave birth to a female infant on May 26.

Meanwhile, 11-year-old Cinta had her young on July 3; and 14-year-old Lumiud gave birth to a male a week later.

The three infants are well – however, Lumiud is having difficulties caring for her newborn, which forced the centre to separate and closely monitor the two.

Sabah Wildlife Department spokesperson Siti Nur’Ain Ampuan Acheh said the orangutan’s low reproductive rate is affecting their survival, and the species needs decades to emerge from their endangered status.

“Orangutans are known to (reproduce late in life) compared to other mammals, a factor contributing to their threatened condition in the wild.

“Female orangutans only enter reproductive age at 8 or 9,” she said in a statement, adding that infants stay with their mothers for as long as nine years to learn survival skills.

Siti said the existence of the centre since 1964 has complemented the government’s commitment to prevent the orangutan’s extinction.

“Most of the orangutans brought to Sepilok are young orphans and are unable to survive on their own.

“The centre helps them to develop their survival skills.

“It has also allowed many to witness orangutans in their natural environment, and opened up opportunities (for research and education),” she added.