Who'd want to let these cuddly little twins go?

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 July, 2011, 12:00am
 

An animal welfare group says the first Bornean orangutan twins to be born at the city's Zoological and Botanical Gardens should be released into the wild.

The pair, a male and a female, were born last Friday weighing 2kg and 1.4kg respectively.

They were born to Vandu, a 16-year-old male orangutan transferred from the Sosto Zoo in Hungary in January last year, and Raba, 15, a female born locally in 1996.

They are now being cared for by veterinary officers until they are old enough to be seen by visitors.

But the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says it is wrong to keep the twins in Hong Kong. Spokeswoman Rebecca Ngan Yee-ling said the climate is not suitable and the facilities are sub-standard.

She also said the twins should not be transferred to another zoo overseas but should be freed into the wild.

She said: 'It was wrong to bring Vandu here and it was more wrong for them to have babies.

'The zoo should find a trustworthy conservation agency to help them transfer them to the wild community once they grow up and are able to survive on their own. It should be done as early as possible.'

But the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, which runs the zoo, welcomed the births.

A spokeswoman said it was yet to be decided whether the twins - which have not yet been named - would be kept at the zoo and whether the cage housing their parents would have to be enlarged and improved.

There are three orangutans - parents Vandu and Raba and another female - at the zoo. They reside in a five-metre-tall cage with a floor size of 272 square metres.

The cage has concrete floor, reinforced glass panels and metal bars. It contains a climbing structure, an artificial boulder and cement-paved pond and a night shelter with a concrete sleeping platform.

Bornean orangutans are an endangered species in the wild, with a declining population due to habitat loss and poaching.

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