Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Orang-utans enjoy a winter cuppa

An orang-utan enjoys a raspberry herbal tea.
If you live in Sydney this relentless rain is a total pain in the buttocks, especially if you are looking after animals who like to get out and enjoy the sun. As someone who cohabits with non-human mammals I've been making efforts to enrich their environment. Today Taronga Zoo’s Orang-utans Jantan and Willow were treated to warm herbal tea as a form of enrichment.

Reaching for a drink in the rain.
According to senior primate keeper Melissa Shipway, “Giving tea to the Orang-utans is part of their enrichment schedule and is very popular in winter.”
Note this isn’t just your ordinary Lipton or Dilmah. It is herbal tea (raspberry is a favourite) with apples.

Sometimes two teas are better than one.
The images were released by Taronga Zoo with the aim of highlighting the plight of Orang-utans on International Orang-utan day. Loss of habitat is the major threat to this beautiful species.

Reaching for another tea.
Their natural habitat, forests in Northern Sumatra and lowland Borneo, is being destroyed to make room for palm oil plantations. According to the Zoo’s figures there are less than 6600 Orang-utans left in Sumatra and under 54,000 in Borneo.

Habitat destruction is a major threat to orang-utan species. Humans have created the problem - and humans need to help.
Taronga is actively involved in the Don’t Palm us Off Campaign, which aims to promote sustainable palm oil farming and advocates for appropriate labelling on food products. More information is available here