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Monkey World News

Ape rescue centre’s new arrivals get ready to monkey around

Tuesday 3 February 2015


Bulu Mata with Kate Diver, Head of Apes at Monkey World


Orang-utan orphan Bulu Mata at Monkey World

THE ARRIVAL of some special babies in Dorset has guaranteed there will be plenty of little ones monkey-ing around this year.

Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre in Wareham has had a baby boom this winter, having welcomed three new arrivals in the last couple of months.

Orang-utan Bulu Mata arrived at the ape rescue centre before Christmas, following a long journey from Budapest Zoo in Hungary.

Bulu Mata is a fluffy baby boy who is just over four months old and was left orphaned when his mother died just a week after he was born. He weighs three and a half kilograms, and is so small that he wears nappies designed for premature babies.

Dr Alison Cronin, director of Monkey World, said he is a very laid back little boy, but he does have a stubborn streak.

She said: “Each primate has a very distinct personality. He’s a very relaxed little chap, he’s happy to go to anyone.

“We’re very pleased he’s so laid back, it means caring for him is a real pleasure and a joy. He’s starting to play and he likes being tickled. He can have strong opinions.”

Bulu Mata hasn’t been put in with the varying age groups of orang-utans at the centre yet because he arrived at the centre at such a young age.

Alison said: “We were hoping that one of our females, who has been feeding another adopted baby, might actually go and pick up and start feeding Bulu Mata as well.

“She’s been having meetings with him and her three-year-old adoptive daughter, she’s been going in and seeing him a couple of times a week.

“She’s very interested in him, she goes in and checks him and lifts up an arm or a leg and rolls him over but she hasn’t actually scooped him up and held him to her breast. We were hoping she would.

“It doesn’t make too much difference other than for the team of keepers who are tasked with caring for him and feeding him his bottles.”

The team looking after Bulu Mata work throughout the day and night to care for him, and are currently feeding him every four to five hours.

Kate Diver, head of apes at the centre, is one of the dedicated keepers who cares for Bulu Mata.

She said that the keepers alternate taking care of him so that he doesn’t become too attached to any of them.

“It’s really exciting watching him develop, you should see him in his tunnel, he’s really active.”

The keepers have special coats that emulate the texture of adult orang-utans so that Bulu Mata will feel more secure and comfortable when he is being held.

She said: “We try to carry him about as much as possible because that is what they do in the wild.”

Bulu Mata should be socialising very actively by summer and as soon as keepers are sure he will be safe, he will be able to play with the rest of the group in the huge nursery playroom.

‘Putting effort into breeding’

The latest additions at Monkey World are two baby woolly monkeys, who arrived at around Christmas time.

The tiny monkeys are difficult to spot, but can be seen clinging on to their mum’s tummies.

Woolly monkeys are the only primates that the park is actively breeding.

Alison said: “We are dedicating a lot of effort into trying to keep this population of captive animals going because they don’t survive well in rescue centres in the countries they come from – Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

“At Monkey World, we generally don’t breed any of our primates here at the park and there are only potentially the orang-utans, although all of our ladies are on birth control right now, and our woolly monkeys that we actively breed so right now it’s only the woolly monkeys.”

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