Baby orangutan gets sweet "Lion King" moment and could spark new generation

Blackpool, UK - A "very special" baby orangutan, whose birth could kickstart a new generation of the critically endangered species, has been shown off at the zoo by his proud mama.

Jingga is a first time mom to her baby orangutan, who was born at Blackpool Zoo last month and could save its species.
Jingga is a first time mom to her baby orangutan, who was born at Blackpool Zoo last month and could save its species.  © Collage: Screenshot/Instagram/blackpoolzoo

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

On Saturday 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 - a la Simba's infamous arrival at the start of Disney's film The Lion King.

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 phones.

Dog and her piece of "emotional support toast" are best friend goals
Dogs Dog and her piece of "emotional support toast" are best friend goals

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

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."

He added: "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 programs such as the EEP absolutely vital, and we are hoping that this is the start of a new generation of beautiful Bornean orangutans here at Blackpool Zoo."

What other animals at the zoo are endangered?

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 center of several big conservation projects recently.

In May, it welcomed three new lionesses to keep its sole lion Khari company in a new $1.9 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."

"We’re like other zoos, only more fun," Blackpool Zoo boats on its Instagram page.

Those who caught a glimpse of its newest baby addition would have to agree!

Cover photo: Collage: Screenshot/Instagram/blackpoolzoo

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