Special reunion for Paignton Zoo’s orangutan family

The orangutan family have been reunited after nearly three months. Credit: Paignton Zoo

After almost three months apart, Paignton Zoo’s family of orangutans are back together.

Since baby Ranbi was born in October 2022, he and his mother Chinta have been separated from male Wousan.

Keepers made the decision to keep first-time father Wousan away from baby Ranbi for a short period of time to ensure that the baby was safe and healthy and give the mother and baby time to bond.

Keeper Georgina Barnes said: “As a young male and a first-time father, we took the decision as a team to separate Wousan once the baby was born.

"This eliminated the risk of Wousan being too rough, even accidentally, potentially causing the baby injury.

"Wousan is a playful male and we weren’t sure if he’d understand that Chinta and her baby weren’t able to do that, so we separated the group for a little while to ensure that everyone was safe.”

Baby Ranbi has been reintroduced to adult male Wousan. Credit: Paignton Zoo

Youngster Natalia enjoyed time with both her mum and baby Ranbi, and with Wousan, throughout the separation period.

Their reunion happened during the zoo’s two-week closure, and keepers even caught the family cuddling up together soon after they were reintroduced.

Georgina continued: “We are so pleased with the introduction. We took all precautions but in the end it was all very calm and Chinta is a great, protective mum ensuring the introduction went well.

We’re really happy with how gentle Wousan is being with Ranbi and it’s great to see the family unit enjoying time together.”

The birth of baby Ranbi was exciting news for Paignton Zoo as Bornean orangutans are critically endangered in the wild.

The main threat to orangutans today is the loss of habitat due to unsustainable palm oil production, illegal logging and agriculture.

Paignton Zoo is involved in a European breeding programme for the species to help boost the population, and only sell products in their restaurant and shop that contain sustainable palm oil, which is grown by reusing already deforested land rather than clearing new areas.